Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has said she was insulted when a Democratic Alliance member of Parliament asked if she had the political will to take on the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union following the “jobs for cash” report.
On Wednesday morning, the basic education department updated the portfolio committee on basic education on its progress in implementing the recommendations of the interministerial report – which stemmed from an investigation into cases where teaching posts were acquired illegally.
Democratic Alliance MP Gavin Davis said the whole issue of jobs for cash was “state capture by a union”.
He wanted to know why the national department referred the investigation on specific incidents back to the relevant provincial departments when the investigation found that six of the nine provinces had been captured by Sadtu.
“The key finding of the report, and we mustn’t lose sight of this, the education departments has been captured by Sadtu in six of the nine provinces.
“Minister, in short, what is your plan to deal with the capture by Sadtu?”
Motshekga was not impressed.
“With due respect, I appeal to members not to patronise me. I take exception to this questioning of my integrity and work,” she said.
“It is his [Davis’s] obsession with Sadtu. It’s not about Sadtu, it’s about the report.”
She said Davis was smuggling in presumptuous questions.
“Members must not play high and mighty here.”
Motshekga’s deputy, Enver Surty, also defended her.
“Whether you’re a member of Sadtu or Naptosa [the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa] is irrelevant. The minister was very firm from the start that where this is criminal activity, prosecute immediately.
“Our intention is to ensure we get rid of any form of irregularity, particularly conflict of interest and selling of posts.”
Surty explained that, according to law, the national department couldn’t meddle in the provincial departments.
Motshekga also said that it wasn’t because of fear that she wasn’t acting in provinces, but because of the law.
Director-general Mathanzima Mweli said that cadre deployment wasn’t a problem if the people who were appointed had the necessary qualifications or experience.
“I am aware I am swimming against the tide,” he said.
Davis said he found it “astounding”.
Mweli said his view was based on the literature on what happened with public administration in other countries, such as China and the United States.
He said in South Africa the concept had been “highly polluted”.
“People think cadre refers to somebody representing a political party. It is wrong,” he said.