Teachers’ union Sadtu has laid charges against one of its KwaZulu-Natal leaders who allegedly sold a job at her school for a R1 000-a-month bribe.
In its first acknowledgment that its members have been involved in the jobs-for-cash scam exposed by City Press nearly two years ago, the union has laid charges of involvement in a caucus parallel to official Sadtu structures – allegedly to manipulate posts for money – against Thembekile Makhanya.
The union charged Makhanya, a Sadtu provincial executive committee member and KwaZulu-Natal convener for sports and recreation, this week after last week’s exposé in City Press that she had collected R12 000 from teacher Nkonzwenhle Mqadi (48) in return for a post at Durban’s Sophie Phewa Primary School, where he was the foundation phase head of department and a governing body member.
Makhanya would regularly send some of her Grade 2 pupils to Mqadi’s Grade 5 class to collect her R1 000 bribe wrapped in a copy of the Isolezwe newspaper.
Mqadi’s salary was stopped when he could no longer afford to pay, Mqadi has claimed.
The union suspended Makhanya on the basis of an internal investigation, which found there was a “case for her to answer”.
A senior Sadtu official, who may not be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media, told City Press the union had taken the unprecedented step of charging Makhanya because it wanted to “root out the individuals” involved in the scam.
“She has now been formally charged for involvement in a caucus outside formal union structures, which is alleged to have been involved in influencing the outcome of placement processes,” said the Sadtu official.
Tensions within Sadtu over the jobs scam spilt on to the streets last weekend after two sets of union observers arrived at last Saturday’s interviews for school-based posts at Isipingo Secondary School in Durban. The groups came to blows and the principal called the police.
On Monday, Mqadi held meetings with Sadtu’s provincial leadership and, on Thursday, laid criminal charges of corruption against Makhanya and several education department officials.
Also on Thursday, Themba Ndhlovu, spokesperson for the Sadtu-dominated SA Council for Educators (Sace) – the body that regulates the teaching profession in the country – told City Press that the organisation had reopened its investigation into the nationwide jobs-for-cash scam following Mqadi’s revelations.
City Press reported in July that an investigation by Sace found no evidence that teaching and administrative positions in the department of basic education were ever bought or sold.
Ndhlovu said the body wanted to hear evidence from teachers or other education department staff who were aware of cases in which the job-selection process had been manipulated.
Sadtu provincial secretary Nomarashia Caluza confirmed Makhanya’s suspension, but declined to comment further.
“I can confirm that comrade Makhanya is suspended, but I cannot say more, as I am unable to discuss union disciplinary matters with the media,” said Caluza.
Makhanya said she had not received any notification of charges from Sadtu and did not believe her suspension was linked to the jobs-for-cash scam. She accused Mqadi of being part of a plot to discredit her.