Long-serving teachers get the runaround

A retired school principal with more than four decades of teaching to her credit has received a meagre, one-off pension pay-out of just R15 000.

Fourteen years have passed since principal Mildred Adkins’s retirement from Tsolo Primary School and still she awaits her proper pension.

Adkins (78), who lives in East London, says it came as a shock when she received her pension pay-out, having contributed to the pension fund for 43 years.

‘I have been battling since 1989 to get my proper pension pay-out. This is a grave injustice,” says Adkins.
‘There are several others [who also taught in Transkei] who find themselves in a similar predicament.”

The only explanation she has had from government administrators, says Adkins, is that ‘my case is so old they cannot help me as my files are no longer available”.

She says that when the homelands were established, teachers who opted to remain in the Transkei were assured by the then-education department that their financial well-being was secure.

Adkins says the last she heard from the Eastern Cape education department on the matter was in March this year, when the Umtata district office contacted her - this after intervention by the public protector’s office - requesting her banking details.

She says she forwarded her banking details to them - but she heard nothing from them until late last month, when she travelled to Umtata to establish the cause of the delay. She was told that the department had not received her details.

However, the provincial education representative, Danie Breytenbach, has a different explanation: ‘The education department in the Eastern Cape received several claims from teachers who were employed prior to January 1 1954, who taught in the Eastern Cape and who are now retired, requesting the department to pay out their leave gratuities, bonuses and pension benefits.

‘The department is not responsible for these payments and retired teachers should contact the National Treasury in Pretoria.

‘This is only applicable to those teachers who were employed prior to January 1954.”

Several attempts by the Teacher to obtain comment from the National Treasury were unsuccessful.

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