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The Eastern Cape education department has approached the provincial treasury for a R15-million bailout to settle salary arrears owed to teachers, the Dispatch Online reported on Thursday.
The department was forced to do this as it could not clear a backlog this financial year of payments related to salaries and allowances for temporary teachers—some dating from the 2010/11 financial year.
Provincial treasury spokesperson Nosisa Sogiyose confirmed that correspondence was received from the provincial education department on December 13 last year asking for a bailout.
She was quoted saying the amount involved was R15 733 301.72 for salaries in arrears as well as allowances for temporary teachers.
These were backlogs not budgeted for in the current year, Sogiyose said. But she said the treasury would verify details of the requested amount before any payment could be made.
Opposition parties and the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union criticised the department for mismanaging its budget, saying some teachers had waited for up to a year to be paid.
The Eastern Cape—which achieved a pass rate of 58.1%—was one of three provinces whose pass rate declined in 2011, along with KwaZulu-Natal with a decline of 2.1% and the Northern Cape, which declined by 3.5%—Sapa.