Durban – The KwaZulu-Natal education department dismally failed to prioritise its programmes and is at risk of collapsing, according to the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in the province.
"A worrying factor is the continuous indication by the department in its submissions in the provincial legislature engagements that there's no money in the department such that it can collapse anytime," said Sadtu provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza at a press briefing in Durban on Tuesday.
Caluza said the revelations have shocked them because the department "takes a bigger slice" of the total provincial budget.
"As role players in the department, we know nothing about how monies are used. Our view is that the department has dismally failed to prioritise its programmes," she said.
'No rural incentives'
The union revealed that rural school teachers have not received rural incentives for the whole of 2017.
"The department also never increased payment of Grade R practitioners yet in all platforms it claims to be prioritising early childhood development," said Caluza.
She also claimed that some schools in the province remained without teachers. She attributed this to what she termed a "spectacular failure of the department to ensure effective systems control" which resulted in "unauthorised appointments" of educators in December 2017.
"This caused the employer to issue circulars preventing schools and district offices from making regular appointments to fill vacant attrition posts in the beginning of the year. Learners remain without educators which is a clear travesty of justice denying learners access to education," Caluza said.
'No payment of acting allowance'
The union also claimed the department was exploiting some teachers by "using them in higher positions without any payment of acting allowance".
"The cancer we once raised as the union of many workers being placed on suspension has now engulfed the head office where there are workers put on suspension for a long time," Caluza said.
Sadtu said it was also concerned about the money that the department uses in internal disciplinary cases. "Of interest to us is how many millions has the department used so far (for private lawyers)?" she asked.
Caluza also commented on President Cyril Ramaphosa succeeding Jacob Zuma as the country's president.
"We are very excited about his appointment because he is bringing hope to the people of South Africa."
Kwazi Mthethwa, spokesperson for education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana, said he did not want to engage Sadtu in public on the allegations raised.
"We respect their right to voice out their concerns. They are our stakeholders, we will always respect their views. That’s the respect we have for Sadtu and other teacher unions," he said.
"We hope that Sadtu can at least engage us because we are trying to avoid having a public dialogue with the union. We are open for discussion as we have an open-door policy," said Mthethwa.