Teacher assistants are not happy about DBE non-payment

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"The teacher assistants are not happy with their payments." Photo: Getty Images
"The teacher assistants are not happy with their payments." Photo: Getty Images

Last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the government's economic reconstruction and recovery plan, which included employing youth to combat poverty and assist with recovering the economy shaken by the Covid-19 lockdown. 

At the beginning of the year, the Department of Education (DBE) announced that they would be employing over 300 000 teacher assistants to assist at schools during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Educator assistants (EAs) were promised R3,500 a month by the DBE, but so far many were only paid for some of their time.

Most of these EAs signed the contract stipulating their employment until March 2021, even though some of them received an extension to work until April - this is the month many of them are complaining about.

Parent24 spoke to over 30 educator assistants who claimed they were not paid either in full or certain months. 

Also read: Are children ready for full-capacity classes?

"I did not get paid at all" 

"I was an EA at a Primary School in KZN in the King Cetshwayo District where the Principal has never paid us without deducting money for herself from our first payments, Dec and Jan combined. We were supposed to be paid R6 900. She paid us by hand R6 100 and when asked why she first said we were taxed," one EA told us, on condition of anonymity. 

"Our February payment was R3118, and for March, we were paid 3118 each. And now for April, it is R2310," another EA told us, asking us not to reveal their name.

"The contract that I signed was from the 1st December to 31st April, but I only got paid for one month," EA Mcotsho revealed.

"I did not get paid at all," EA Asiphe told us. 

"My school is in the EC, and I was paid for all the months except for April, which was an extended month," another anonymous EA said.

"Although I signed the contract in February, I was not paid," Nondumiso told us. 

Elijah Mhlanga, media spokesperson for the Department of Education, refuses to believe that many students were not paid, yet as he told us "the majority of the more than 319 000 education and general assistance have been paid" implying that not everyone has received their dues. 

Mhlanga told Parent24 via email that currently they are dealing with individual cases with specific issues, including that many of the students have not received their stipend for several months.

"We are receiving isolated cases of complaints in this regard. Each case is dealt with on its own because there are matters that are unique to each person," he told Parent24.

Also read: Rethinking education post Covid-19 means a paradigm shift to online learning 

For more information, the DBE urges those who have an issue to contact the following coordinators in their respective provinces:

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Are you a teacher's assistant who has not received payment? Share your story with us.

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