Tensions are mounting between basic education minister and teachers’ union Sadtu ahead of the release of the much anticipated jobs-for-cash report.
The interim report into the jobs-for-cash scandal, which City Press published in December, fingered Sadtu’s members and officials in the department of basic education for being involved in a complex patronage system in which the union sold teaching jobs to people who were willing to pay.
The report, compiled by Professor John Volmink, also found that the union had captured six provincial education departments. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has promised that the final report, which is due at the end of this month, will be released to the public.
Over the weekend, SA Democratic Teachers Union secretary Mugwena Maluleke told the Sunday Tribune in Durban that Motshekga had colluded with “right wingers” to destroy the union. The paper reported that Maluleke shot down the report, arguing that investigators arrived at far reaching conclusions without evidence or facts. He also claimed that Motshekga had instructed the investigators to target the union.
“The report, even though I haven’t seen it, is based on preconceived ideas. I don’t want to prejudge the outcome of the report, but I know [it] will implicate us because of the fraught relationship we have with her,” he was quoted as saying.
However, Motshekga has hit back at Sadtu, saying Maluleke’s comments were not only unfortunate, but also untrue.
“The minister does not do investigations, hence an independent ministerial task team was appointed, and has no role to play in its findings. Sadtu should be reminded that the ministerial task team was appointed as strongly recommended by teacher unions.
“Everyone who was involved at the meetings convened to reflect and discuss the media reports, particularly in City Press, agreed to the gravity of the Jobs for cash allegations. It was agreed that those allegations should be investigated,” Motshekga’s spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said. Motshekga, whose initial idea was to ask President Jacob Zuma to appoint a commission of inquiry, revealed that she settled on the ministerial task team on recommendations from unions.
Mhlanga said it was indisputable that an investigation on the allegations was to be conducted and a report submitted to the minister for consideration.
“An interim report was indeed submitted by the ministerial task team to the minister and the Council of Education Ministers. It is therefore unthinkable for minister to interfere in the work of the task team, whose only mandate is to unravel any truth to the allegations of jobs for cash,” Mhlanga said.