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“Jobs for cash” scandal shows loophole in education system

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While the education system continues to struggle against a range of socio-economic issues in the country, a recent investigation uncovered the prevalence of “jobs for cash” within the basic education sector. In a report released by the basic education’s ministerial task team, which was established nearly 2 years ago, 81 cases of “job for cash” appointments were investigated, 38 of which provided grounds for reasonable suspicion or wrongdoing. The report revealed inconsistencies in the current employment process, which may result in amendments to laws and regulations of appointments in the sector.

The task team, which was set up by Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga and led by Professor John Volmink, was established following allegations in the media in 2014 that various members of teacher unions and department officials were involved.

While the investigation period has lapsed, the discovery of 38 cases necessitates further investigation. The minister has, therefore, extended the time period to accommodate the gathering of evidence, which is to be handed to the prosecution authorities in order to secure criminal charges against guilty parties.  The forensic investigation is to be completed in August 2016, after which, the necessary remedial action will be instituted.

Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga explained that the discovery of appointments without due process needs to be assessed by the Department of Basic Education and that certain cases need to be assessed under a criminal investigation.

He said that since the arranging and securing of positions in exchange for cash is prevalent in numerous provinces, the situation warrants further investigation, which the minister will need to decide upon.

Mhlanga confirmed that officials were involved in the appointment of certain individuals, therefore, necessitating the reassessment of the system.

“The terms of reference, meant that the task team assessed the role of individuals, officials, the Department, as well as the system itself, which has allowed people to undermine it for years.”

He said that one of the recommendations of the report cited the need for a union, which will be established for ex-educators, but stated that the role of unions would need to be clarified, since unions have observer status and should, therefore, not promote nepotism or the sale of jobs.

Mhlanga further stated that as the criminal cases are addressed in court, the department will gain insight into the mechanisms through which “jobs for cash” appointments are made.



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