Unions run and control the government in the majority of provinces – and the rot cannot be allowed to continue.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga came out with guns blazing today at a media conference that she had called to announce that she had received the preliminary report into the job-for-cash scandal.
Motshekga revealed that unions – the South African Democratic Teachers Union in particular – ran and controlled more than half of the provincial departments of basic education.
The complex scandal – which involves unions, school governing body members, circuit and district officials – was exposed by City Press in a series of reports that began in April last year.
Addressing the media in Pretoria, Motshekga promised to freeze some teacher and principal posts and appoint a human resources team to deal with the appointment of principals.
“This is a proposal and I will meet with MECs in January to put the proposal to them.”
She said this would be done in the interim while the department and its stakeholders sought permanent solutions to the selling of jobs in the department.
“In our view the report does confirm corruption and undue influence in the appointment of teachers and school principals. The authority of the state powers of certain stakeholders in the appointment process would need to be reviewed.”
She added that there were weaknesses in the system’s basic education value chain.
In a statement, Motshekga said: “The interim report indicates that government systems have created a situation that allowed an exploitation of the system which compromised proper appointments in critical posts such as those of school principals. This has undermined the government’s ability to deliver on its priority, which is education, by allowing unions to have a stranglehold on government whereby they call the shots.”
The report, she said, indicated that unions run and control the government in the majority of provinces.
“This practice cannot be allowed to continue. As a department we will engage all our stakeholders and ensure that we put in place a more stringent regime that will allow only those who qualify and are competent to be appointed.
Merit must be the only determining factor when it comes to appointments.” Motshekga said she would ask the police and the National Prosecuting Authority to handle cases brought to them with speed.
“The situation cannot be allowed to persist and I must say that there will be consequences. We will use this report and the recommendations therein to remediate the system and ensure that we bring this rot that has infiltrated education under control.”
Professor John Volmink, who led the team that conducted the investigation, said many posts were sold for anything between R1000 and R50 000. Motshekga said the full report would be released some time in February.