Four-page report on selling of teacher posts ‘not a whitewash’

 The South African Democratic Teachers Union’s general secretary, Mugwena Maluleke.  Picture: Leon Sadiki
The South African Democratic Teachers Union’s general secretary, Mugwena Maluleke. Picture: Leon Sadiki

The South African Council for Educators has defended its four-page report into the selling of teacher promotional posts, which found no evidence of corruption or wrongdoing.

It also said it would be willing to appear before Parliament to explain itself.

The council came under heavy criticism from the Democratic Alliance’s Gavin Davis on Monday, after a copy of the report, Selling of Posts, was released to the opposition party.

Davis said the report was “defective, amateurish and a whitewash” and demanded that the council appear before the basic education portfolio committee.

The report dealt with specific claims of corruption at specific schools in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal Mpumalanga and North West and involving the South African Democratic Teachers Union in particular.

Council for educators chief executive Rej Brijraj welcomed any critique of its work.

“We have done our best to investigate as many cases as possible. Whether we wrote this on one page or 10 pages, it would be the same thing. We found no evidence forthcoming,” he said.

In a statement, Davis said that he now understood why the council had been reluctant to release the actual report after announcing its findings earlier this year.

“Despite investigations taking place from 2014, the [council] report – if you can call it that – is a grand total of four pages. The ‘methodology’ is vague, the specific allegations are not documented and it is not clear on what evidence the ‘findings’ are based on. The result is an amateurish whitewash that absolves everybody of wrongdoing, to the advantage of [the teachers’ union],” said Davis.

He said it gave strength to claims in a City Press report in July last year that the union’s executives had allegedly leaned on the council to drop the investigation.

Hitting back, Brijraj said a task team of five had investigated “anonymous rumours” of posts being irregularly awarded to favour the union’s office bearers or members, but witnesses had not come forward to testify.

“So we don’t know whether it was sour grapes, or whether people are intimidated or afraid. I know it is disappointing. But it was not a whitewash. And if there is any evidence of such, then we will investigate. We wouldn’t want [the council] to be tarnished.”

Brijraj also defended the council’s composition amid criticism it was dominated by the union, and said that all unions worked out how to distribute the 18 union representative seats on the 30-member council, and that the democratic teachers’ union was the largest union in the country.

He agreed that the process of teacher promotions needed to be altered to remove loopholes.

Brijraj also welcomed the recommendations of a separate “jobs-for sale” investigation that was conducted by a ministerial task team.

This report looked into 81 cases of alleged irregularities and recommended that cases in which teacher posts had been sold by unions and government officials be handed over to the police.

The department is due to deliver a progress report to Parliament’s portfolio committee on Wednesday.

The report was finally released in May this year after many delays.

Janet Heard
Media24 Parliamentary Editor
City Press
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