Eastern Cape frustrations continue

For five years, says Sadtu, the provincial Department of Education has failed to pay cash bonuses, leave gratuities, salary adjustments, relocation costs, substitute teachers and new appointees.

The total amount owed is R100-million.

Sadtu’s provincial secretary Mxolisi Dimaza says payments have still not been received and that a request for an urgent meeting with Eastern Cape Premier Makhenkesi Stofile and education officials had been made late last month. But, says Dimaza, ‘We are still waiting for a response.
Should the matter not be amicably resolved we will have to evaluate our options, which do not exclude us re-embarking on sit-ins.”

Another option was for the union to embark on labour action through the labour courts. However, Dimaza says Sadtu would stop short of disrupting year-end examinations.

Sadtu representatives mobilised sit-ins and picketed at departmental offices in August. The sit-in action was suspended in late September after the department agreed to make payments.

Representative for the provincial Department of Education, Phaphama Mfenyana, claims that some payments have been made and that the slow pace was due to administrative delays.

But frustration is once again boiling over. Says Dimaza, ‘These problems have dragged on long enough. It is killing educational delivery in one of the poorest provinces in the country.”

He says some affected educators have have had their houses, cars and furniture repossessed. In some cases, teachers’ children have been denied an education because their parents have been unable to pay school fees.

‘Nothing less than full payment of the monies owed to teachers in the province will bring this crisis to an end,” says Dimaza.

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