Equal Education is deeply concerned by reports that principal and teaching posts are being sold by individuals affiliated to the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU). We welcome the announcement by President Zuma and Minister Motshekga that a commission of inquiry will be established to look into the matter and we are pleased that Minister Motshekga will already be meeting with the Presidency’s legal advisors today to work out logistical details of the inquiry.
Last week the City press broke a story that in Kwa-Zulu Natal principal posts are sold for R30 000 each. This has led to many illegal appointments and even a murder involving the former SADTU provincial secretary Mfundi Sibiya. In at least two cases the principals were violently forced out of their posts and threatened. They were replaced by candidates who allegedly paid off union officials. In a follow up article, the City Press further stated that crooked SADTU officials are selling not only principal posts but are also cheating the system by controlling teacher appointments and retirement in return for bribes. Transfers are also being sold for R10 000 depending on how popular the school is.
If this is indeed true then we are deeply disappointed and in fact angry that some SADTU officials will prioritize corruption above the needs of learners. To those engaging in this practice the quality of teachers being put in the schools is no longer of concern, but simply how much money they can receive in bribes. This compromises and undermines the learning experience of students, the management of schools, the rights of workers to fair labour practice and the integrity of the entire basic education system. It also undermines the integrity of the union. A strong and active teachers union is very important to advance the rights and interests of teachers, who are often undervalued by society. We will always support SADTU and its members in undertaking their important core work. However patronage, corruption and abuse of the education system do damage to the union.
We have noted that SADTU has distanced itself from the claims and says that it is individuals that do this not prompted by the organization. However the General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke, was notified in November of 2012 and failed to take decisive action. We assume that it is a minority of SADTU members engaged in such practices, and that the majority are dedicated teachers working under difficult conditions. Nevertheless, we think it is not enough for SADTU to just distance itself from the claims. The union must take action lest the organization be seen as promoting corruption.
We demand that there are strong terms of reference to this commission of inquiry that will enable thorough investigation; this must include the power to investigate department officials and school governing bodies who may be colluding with the corrupt officials. We agree with the Minister that potential witnesses will need protection. We also call for other bodies like Corruption Watch, the Hawks and Public Protector to also investigate these allegations and take serious steps against the culprits. As Equal Education we wish to see corruption rooted out of the basic education system and thus the sooner the commission of inquiry is setup the better. We intend to keep a close eye on the process.
For more information:
Yoliswa Dwane (EE Chairperson)
076 706 2338
Yana Van Leeve (EE deputy national co-ordinator)
082 578 9442
Nombulelo Nyathela (EE spokesperson)
060 503 4933