“Jobs for Cash” Report: responses by stakeholders

Basic Education

30 November 2016
Chairperson: Ms L Zwane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The stakeholders in the Basic Education sector  gave their responses to the “Selling of Posts” Ministerial Task Team (MTT) Report and to its methodology and the recommendations contained in it. There was a general consensus that the Report was flawed because of the processes which were followed to conduct the investigation, and this has affected the credibility and trustworthiness of the MTT Report. The stakeholders also stated that the individuals who are implicated of wrongdoing should be dealt with as individuals and their affiliation to a particular union should not mean that the entire union is corrupt. Most stakeholders disagreed with cadre deployment. The recommendation that the powers of School Governing Bodies (SGBs) should be removed was generally disagreed with and suggestions were made that the SGBs should be trained on legislation and policy to ensure that they are capacitated. Some generalisations in the MTT Report were a matter of contention and certain stakeholders spoke of racial stereotypes being perpetuated.

Members asked questions about the involvement of the stakeholders in the investigation process, the allegations of capture of some provincial departments by a union, the blurring of lines by union members during the interviews for appointments, the protection of whistleblowers, and the request for a judicial commission of inquiry to get in depth information.

Meeting report

Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) response to MTT Report
Ms Cindy Foca, General Secretary, ELRC, reflected on the areas where ELRC was referred to in the Report. The first matter raised was about the bargaining processes, the Personnel Administrative Measures (PAM) in particular, and the Quality Management System which was concluded in 2014. The collective agreement does not enjoy the majority of the signatories therefore it has not been implemented. The third aspect was the unions admitted to ELRC who should form part of the selection process in interviews for posts. ELRC was issued with a letter in 2014 to conduct investigations, which it did not because it does not have the authority to do so. However as a stakeholder interested in what happens in the education sector, ELRC supported the investigation by SACE and the appointment of the Ministerial Task Team and decided to await the results of those processes.

The organisation derives its mandate from the Labour Relations Act and exists purely to ensure that there is maintenance and promotion of labour peace within the public education sector. It does so by providing a platform for collective bargaining and dispute resolution. The legislative framework that governs appointments and promotions for ELRC is mainly the PAM, ELRC Resolution 5 of 1998 that deals with advertising and filling of educator posts, the ELRC Collective Agreement 3 of 2016 that addresses guidelines for promotion disputes, and Schedule 7 of the Labour Relations Act which deals with unfair labour practices.

ELRC’s involvement is limited to the process, and this is being emphasised because when the commissioners deal with the cases they will ask questions that are specific and relevant only to the process and nothing else. When aggrieved educators give evidence they will not be allowed to speak to anything outside of the process. The process includes advertising, sifting, shortlisting, interviews and appointment. Allegations of fraud are not part of the evidence led in arbitrations. The participation of unions during shortlisting and interviews is that of observer in terms of Section 14(4)(d). They are not there to be active or influence the decision. If the union feels there were irregularities in the process, then they should lodge a complaint with the HOD to address the matter to ensure everyone was treated fairly.

In conclusion, ELRC agrees with what is mentioned on page 212 of the Report that speaks to the ELRC’s involvement in the appointment procedure of educators.

South African Council of Educators (SACE) response to MTT Report
Mr Rej Brijraj, SACE CEO, said that SACE acknowledges the MTT Report and its effort to strengthen the education system by removing the elements of corruption. SACE welcomes the suggestion that educators who are found guilty of selling posts should be referred to SAPS for further investigation, and SACE will await the results of such outcomes. There is difficulty in understanding why both school based and office based educators cease to be office bearers of political parties. If educators are prevented from being office bearers of political parties at different levels, political parties will be bereft of the largest intellectual pool in the country in their leadership ranks and will have to look to non-educators only to fill those positions. This would not be good for leadership because history has shown that teachers are leaders and have occupied leadership positions even in Parliament. It may be wiser to restrict political propaganda and manipulation at all levels.

There is a perception that SADTU dominates the decision-making powers at SACE. The SACE Act of 2000 provides that 18 of the 30 members of SACE be from organised teaching profession. When SACE was conceived it was based on the philosophy that the SACE be run by the profession. The national teacher unions have agreed that 12 of these members must come from SADTU and although SADTU may have a strong voice within SACE, it does not have a majority of members as the Report alleges. To say that SADTU, which is affiliated to COSATU which supports the ANC, muscles into control of SACE and influences its decisions is both misleading and malicious. SACE has other union leaders and leaders from other stakeholder groupings. The critique has gone so far as to single out the CEO and Chairperson of SACE as coming from SADTU. The CEO does not come from SADTU and was appointed unanimously after a second round of adverts for the post as SACE could not secure a suitable candidate in the first round.

The CEO has yet to be accused of acting in a partial manner. Both NAPTOSA and SAOU have chaired SACE and nearly all decisions are by consensus. It is recommended that more scrutiny of nominations for the SACE Council is handled by the Ministry to ensure that educators are appointed to fulfil the profile prescriptions of the Act instead of a re-conceptualisation of SACE. SACE received no formal complaints from any quarter including the MTT. Many complaints were received anonymously and SADTU requested SACE to investigate. SACE set up a five person panel to follow up on the leads in the affected provinces which could not yield any tangible evidence of wrongdoing on the part of any educator. This is despite many educators speaking about corruption and bribery in the filling of promotion posts but no one availed themselves as witnesses. This is the reason SACE could not provide the MTT with hard and fast instances of malpractice.

There are accusations being made that SADTU influenced SACE to cover up and present a white washed report. SACE remains in the service of education and welcomes all critiques, recommendations and leads.

South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) response to MTT Report
Mr Mugwena Maluleke, SADTU General Secretary, said SADTU had made a detailed submission to the MTT but due to time constraints the full report will not be discussed here. He said that the SADTU executive leadership had instructed them to begin by saying that they are the democratic teachers’ union which is an affiliate of COSATU and COSATU is an unapologetic ally of the tripartite alliance of the ANC, COSATU and SACP. This is a constitutional right that they associate with whomever they choose.

SADTU recommended that the Committee read tips about generalisations in South Africa. The first generalisation is that a black person is always regarded as a criminal; a Mexican is considered a rapist; a white person is perfect; a blonde is dumb; an ugly person is poor. The difficulty with these generalisations is that they create false impressions of people. It cannot be right that a union of more than 260 000 teachers is blemished on the basis of seven teachers who were found guilty of wrongdoing. The reason all the teachers are branded as corrupt because of the seven could perhaps be attributed to the fact that because you are a black person, it means that you are corrupt and a criminal. The Portfolio Committee should condemn this and put a stop to the generalisations. There are good educators within SADTU who are doing a good job and they cannot all be labelled as corrupt when they have done nothing wrong.

Mr Maluleke said that the MTT Report concedes that there is no SADTU policy or decision that says that posts should be sold. SADTU has never encouraged the selling of posts. The Report actually vindicates SADTU and the MTT chairperson was quoted on Radio 702 as saying that they never found any evidence that said SADTU sold posts. If there is anyone who holds information to the contrary they should approach the nearest SAPS to open a case instead of labelling the entire union. The law must take its course against the seven teachers. SADTU was the first to request an investigation into the allegations in the City Press. SADTU has complied with the investigation’s requests and responded to the questions in full, the detailed responses of which can be found in the MTT Report. The release of the SACE Report was also not hindered, instead they encouraged the investigation. SADTU is willing to continue cooperating in every way.

SADTU has made submissions to the MTT but the submissions were not considered but were instead attached to the Report as an annexure. This means that the MTT Report still remains with its incorrect information, and the issues which were raised were not considered. From the 81 cases that the MTT dealt with, only 22 were associated with SADTU, of which only seven were of a serious nature requiring action. The MTT Report is bold to speak about the association with SADTU but is quiet about the other unions. This shows that it has a political agenda to destroy the union which will not be allowed.

To highlight the importance of generalisations, he gave the example of the ward councillor in Cape Town who made racist remarks on Facebook. It cannot be said that because that councillor is affiliated to a particular political party when those comments were made, that it means that all members of that political party are racist. Rules should apply to all, they should not be selective. He concluded by saying that it is not a crime for SADTU to have a large membership. The union was built over years and lives were lost to establish the union. People should therefore not be ashamed to be members of the union.

National Professional Teacher’s Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA) response to MTT Report
Mr Basil Manuel, NAPTOSA Executive Director, said that people being appointed through incorrect channels is nothing new and has been happening for quite some time. The Ministry was aware of it and when the decision was taken to investigate, NAPTOSA was happy because the rumours affect the entire education system and not only the ones who are the perpetrators.

He wants to indicate from the onset that NAPTOSA was unhappy that it was simply a task team because the nature of the task team did not allow for full and proper investigations that included the subpoena of witnesses. It is therefore no surprise that the outcome was limited even though the task team received full cooperation and support. He applauded the whistleblowers and it is a serious problem that those who came forward were named and have faced negative treatment, as people will no longer come forward to give evidence out of fear. He said that the generalisations about SADTU are indeed being perpetuated because there are terms used that unions are adversarial. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by NAPTOSA or its members, which is why it is incorrect for the MTT Report to state that all unions and teachers are corrupt and not doing what they are supposed to be doing.

He acknowledged that the MTT Report only scratched the surface and a more in depth investigation is required. Lifestyle audits must be done to determine if people are living beyond their means and they must be held accountable. The officials within the department must also be removed from positions where they influence the appointment of persons. There is very little that has been done to protect whistleblowers. The Task Team seemed to take on powers far greater than the mandate of investigating the sale of posts, and that is why there was information about the membership of unions and the powers of school governing bodies (SGBs). There are both good and bad SGBs and the involvement of parents is a good thing. Where things go wrong, those are the things that should be dealt with. The provincial governments must ensure that SGBs know the role of observer and must train them to not go beyond that scope.

Various recommendations were made and NAPTOSA, together with the other unions, agrees that the appointment of promotion posts must be updated. The agreements must be changed taking into consideration the current situation, so the scope for corruption is limited. NAPTOSA believes that ‘party-politically non-aligned’ is the correct position. He concluded by saying that NAPTOSA is pleased that there were people implicated of wrongdoing but is displeased that nothing has been done about it so far. Educators cannot compete on an unequal footing; educators should never feel that they are entitled to posts. Unions are not essentially corrupt.

National Teachers' Union (NATU) response to MTT Report
Mr Siphosethu Ngcobo, NATU president, said that he wanted to indicate upfront that NATU will be focusing more on the methodology employed by the MTT, which had a lot of limitations. NATU raised this with the MTT – that based on the methodology the participation that they had anticipated was not going to be achieved. The Report indicated that there was no cooperation by NATU, and he would like to place it on record that NATU has never refused to participate in the investigation. An engagement was held with the MTT where suggestions were given to the MTT on how to increase participation with the investigation and also to give the MTT more information about the investigation.

He said that it was mischievous of the MTT to brush aside all the critical concerns raised by NATU in order to justify that there was ‘no participation’ during the process. There was an expectation that the MTT would focus on the mandate relating to the selling of posts and how they are being sold. The MTT however focused on the stakeholders and how the SGBs are appointed and so forth. It is therefore no surprise that MTT ended up advising the Minister on how to improve existing legislation, which was not linked to the tracing of persons who are known to sell posts.

The MTT Report nicknamed NATU and it is tantamount to name calling and this shows that the MTT did not do an excellent job to ensure that the information contained is relevant and engagements were held with the relevant people. The process and methodology adopted was a problem, because they did not circulate information to all the educators to notify them that an investigation was going to be conducted. This affected the giving of evidence because people were not aware and thus did not come forward. They also did not have a system designed to protect the whistleblowers so that they are not harmed after the completion of the investigation. Appropriate processes and methodology are necessary to validate the results of the investigation which will have a positive impact on the education system. It is for this reason that NATU finds it difficult to accept the credibility of the findings contained in the MTT Report.

The reasons for the misgivings are also related to the location of the secretariat servicing the MTT. When you participate in the investigation, the first person to receive you is a department employee whom you know to have been involved with the trade union. This was improper because it carried a high risk of conflict of interest, which again was seen in the membership of the MTT. Some of them were known to have played a huge role in the trade unions and the department itself. The credibility and neutrality of these individuals is in question. The solution would be the establishment of a judicial commission of inquiry. The speed at which these investigations were conducted was also a concern. The MTT was concerned with getting to the finish line as opposed to giving people ample time and opportunity to come forward with evidence. The investigation also happened during school hours, which limited educators’ participation. They could not apply for leave because there was no circular.

NATU was concerned about the participation of the whistleblowers, who were supposed to be the key witnesses in the process. The protection of witnesses must be addressed by the judicial commission of inquiry, and proper investigations conducted. The names of witnesses must be deleted from the report before it is made public. Cadre deployment must be reviewed to give people equal opportunity and access to employment in the sector. The methodology compromised the investigation process and has a negative impact on the education system. The investigation has denied the victims a right to access to justice. The credibility of the MTT Report is brought into question by these matters that have been raised, which is further highlighted by the hiding of critical information by the MTT and the MTT omitted a lot of work. The Report is therefore not a good reflection of the job done.

Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU) response to MTT Report
Mr Chris Klopper, SAOU CEO, said that the investigation was of concern to SAOU and that such actions should not exist within the education system. Another concern is that a large part of the Report deals with matters which are outside of the brief of the MTT. Instead of adhering to the identification of perpetrators and how they should be dealt with, it rather dealt with other unrelated matters.

The overarching recommendation of the MTT Report was based on the large scale centralisation of the education system. This is an initiative that will place the education system at the behest of the ruling party in each province, and this is unacceptable because it will result in an education system similar to the one that existed in 1976. The negative image and perception of public schools must be corrected to reduce the growing perception that quality education can only be accessed at private schools. This can be managed by the participation of parents in the schooling system and decision-making process. The vast majority of SGBs are complying with their fiduciary duties and this must be continued. The lack of training of SGBs must be placed at the door of the education authorities and the unions must work together to ensure that communities have well-functioning SGBs within their schools.

A further concern is that the contributions by the SAOU were either misunderstood or deliberately misrepresented by the MTT. To regard the input as resistant of the progress being made post 1994 is both mischievous and a broad generalisation. It is a stereotyping that cannot be accepted. There is also an uncanny resemblance between the MTT Report and the Basic Education Amendment Bill that did the rounds in August 2015 and that is a matter that must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

The SAOU supports Recommendations 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15 and 16, and does not support Recommendations 6 and 12 of the MTT Report. The regarding of all communities as the same is a gross discrimination. He said that SAOU looks forward to further cooperation with all parties to ensure that all the matters are resolved.

Professional Educators Union (PEU) response to MTT Report
Mr Malose Kutumela, PEU president, said that PEU welcomes the long awaited MTT Report on the selling of posts, but requested that the Minister should not go ahead and lay criminal charges against those fingered by the Report. He applauded the efforts of the MTT, and said that the Report could not have come at a better time than when deserving educators have been sidelined in the appointment to promotion posts. 38 cases is just a scratch on the surface, and a judicial commission would have gone a long way in bringing out more in depth information and dealing with those who have branded themselves as the untouchables within the education system.

The finding of the MTT Report that six out of the nine provinces have lost control of the education system does not take them by surprise as it was seen coming. It is a culmination of a long standing tradition of appointing persons to promotion posts in the name of cadre deployment which is one of the striking features of the MTT Report. Cadre deployment has been structured in a way that ensures that senior positions are occupied by specific persons with little or no consideration of how much knowledge, skills or experience the individual possesses. PEU feels vindicated by these findings because many of its members remain victims of this cadre deployment. It would like to take this opportunity to declare its unqualified support for the recommendation that cadre deployment be done away with. The SGBs being given the task of recruiting educators into promotion posts without the necessary managerial skills will be fertile ground for scams because teacher unions will take charge of the situation and exploit this. This is because many members of SGBs are not equipped to deal with the technicalities and dynamics raised through provincial resolutions and policies of recruitment of teachers into promotion posts.

The MTT Report provides a launching pad to restore the dignity and respect of the teaching profession and the education system. This will be achieved if those with the skills are allowed to lead without any attachments. It is the hope of PEU that those that will have to face the full wrath of the law will not be pardoned or the process tampered with.

Federation of Association of Governing Bodies (FEDSAS) response to MTT Report
Mr Paul Colditz, FEDSAS CEO, said a comprehensive response has been submitted to the MTT, and the role of FEDSAS was not to respond to in the entire report but only the parts which speak to the functions and powers of governing bodies. Recommendations 6, 7 and 8 of the Report are the only ones which are relevant to the organisation.

Corrupt and unethical activities mean that the persons who are involved in the selling of posts have received payments for their signatures to be on the letters of appointment. The MTT Report fails to recognise this in the appointments of the education system, and there are no systems to ensure the appointment of suitably qualified people into positions. The MTT Report is riddled with generalisations and inconsistencies, which affects its credibility and reliability. The MTT has showed a lack of understanding of its mandate. It is not the system that is corrupt but the individuals within the system. Not all SGBs have the skills and competencies to operate at the level and standard that is required in the process of appointment to posts, and that is why FEDSAS wrote to all the provincial HODs to offer assistance in the training of SGBs. This is the responsibility of circuit and district offices, but it has been seen that they neither have the capacity nor the willingness to provide it. Only Gauteng and the Western Cape provinces responded to the letters, and the remaining seven provinces did not acknowledge receipt of the letters.

The SGBs do not appoint persons but only recommend who is the suitable person for the post. The democratic systems and organisations should not be destroyed because there are people within the system who are corrupt.

Governing Body Foundation (GBF) response to MTT Report
Mr Tim Gordon, GBF CEO, said that the views of the organisation on the MTT Report and its findings are long overdue because the rumblings over the selling of posts have been present for quite some time. He commended the Minister for establishing the task team after the story broke in the media.

The MTT Report suggests that the current appointment process contains inconsistencies and must be reviewed and GBF agrees with this. The most important issue is that the education system must be updated to avoid the selling of posts even in the figurative sense of the word. The entire system has been riddled with undue influence and this is a matter that must be attended to as a matter of urgency. It is worthy to note that although the governing bodies were not implicated in the matter, they are the ones who stand to lose the most through the implementation of many of the recommendations. Two critical aspects of the MTT Report are that firstly the department has retained managerial control in only three of the nine provinces and in the other provinces one union is suggested to be in de facto control. This is a concern because instead of correcting it, the emphasis is placed on removing the powers of SGBs to make recommendations on posts in level one and two.

The GBF cannot accept that the responsibility of appointments must be handed over to the department given the implications about employees of the department within the Report. There are things the GBF agrees with in the Report, such as the unreserved support for Recommendations 1 to 5. Recommendations 11, 12, 13, and 14 are also acceptable. The GBF does not have a seat in ELRC and therefore cannot influence the processes in that forum. The GBF is opposed to educators not being allowed to hold leadership positions within the unions.

Mr L Ntshayisa (AIC) welcomed the presentations and said that his interest was in the SGBs. He was worried about the SGBs in the rural areas which are not capacitated and this leaves room for a lot of influence by the unions. The people who are appointed will be those who are active in the unions, and the non-active ones are sidelined. The capacitation of SGBs in the rural areas must be addressed to ensure equal access to opportunities of promotional posts.

Mr M Mabika (NFP) welcomed the presentations and said that the stakeholders are not protecting the concept of selling of posts and this is commendable. Their approaches to the MTT Report may be different but the general consensus is that corruption must be removed from the education system. He agrees with SADTU’s sentiments that individuals who were involved in the selling of posts must be dealt with as individuals instead of branding an entire union as corrupt. It is unfortunate that the Department is not part of the stakeholder response today because the Department should answer why they have allowed themselves to be captured by the unions. The unions are not supposed to participate in the appointment process and only have an observer status. This shows that the lines have been blurred and this is improper. The Departmental representatives should not allow this to happen. It is difficult to balance freedom of association and an unfair advantage in the appointment of posts. SADTU is a good example because in some areas only SADTU members are appointed to senior positions and that results in them having decision-making positions at the expense of non-members. He does not support cadre deployment as it disadvantages other educators from having equal access to opportunities.

Mr G Davis (DA) welcomed the presentations and said that he will not respond to every presentation. He will only be focusing on the presentations by SACE, SADTU and NATU. He however shares all the misgivings raised in the responses to the Report. He found SACE’s presentation troubling because it tried to deny that SADTU has the many members that dominate SACE. SADTU leads SACE because the Vice-President and current Chairperson have had at some point affiliations with SADTU. These conflicts of interest must be acknowledged, and the parallel investigation by SACE absolved everyone of wrongdoing while the MTT Report has evidence of wrongdoing. This suggests that SADTU leaned on SACE to sanitise the findings. He requested SACE to provide the information on the allegations to the forensic team for further investigation that will prove that indeed there was no evidence of wrongdoing.

He took exception to SADTU’s attempt to racialise the issue. Corruption is a serious matter in the country and has nothing to do with race. If it is not addressed it will greatly affect the education system. SADTU’s attempt to say the MTT Report vindicates SADTU is not true because it is mentioned 694 times in the Report. Individuals implicated in the wrongdoing were associated with SADTU, and although not all SADTU members are corrupt, it is argued that the problem lies with the leadership of SADTU and not with individuals per se. Cadre deployment is aimed at ensuring that SADTU members are placed in high paying positions to ensure that the interests of SADTU are placed at the forefront. The MTT Report suggests that SADTU has captured the education sector and capitalised on pushing its mandate.

He said that the NATU presentation has proposed a judicial commission of inquiry which was echoed by other stakeholders. The MTT Report has proven to be controversial and its recommendations will not be taken seriously because of internal politics. A judicial commission would be a good thing because it will have the power to subpoena witnesses, its credibility is unlikely to be questioned because of the processes of investigation and it carries more weight in terms of the law. There are excellent reasons to support a judicial inquiry into the matter and this must be discussed further so that the Committee can write to the President to request a judicial inquiry.

Ms J Basson (ANC) said that the Report was a worthwhile exercise because it has brought up issues that will need to be addressed urgently. There must be continued discussions on the matter. The presentations today show a conflict of ideas and this is because of the loopholes and faults and not all the recommendations are agreed to. The generalisation of facts is clear in the Report. It should state only individuals are implicated and not the organisations or associations. The issue of powers being taken away is not clear because it will result in organisations being punished at the expense of individuals. She agreed with NATU’s opinion that the MTT did not do a good job with the Report because many of the stakeholders’ submissions were not taken into consideration. If only 22 of the 81 people implicated were SADTU members, what about the other people and the associations they are affiliated but not mentioned in the Report. She asked if all SGBs are affiliated with FEDSAS.

Ms N Mokoto (ANC) welcomed the presentations and said that the Minister did well to respond to the allegations in the media about the selling of posts. The MTT Report has a lot of faults but the efforts must be commended, because it is a starting point in correcting the education system. There is no way you can address the selling of posts without addressing the policies that govern the education employment system. She is concerned about the Report being politicised and this will result in the Committee and stakeholders losing sight of the issue at hand. Cadre deployment is not a new issue because even during the apartheid era there was a setting aside of specific posts for people of colour. Many of the stakeholders said that they were not given a chance to have their submissions reflected in the Report, and asked if this has been reported to both the Chairperson and the Minister. The exclusion must be noted to ensure that it has been placed on record that their inputs are not reflected in the Report. She asked if the unions train their members on education legislation and policies of the Department because it has been noted that members do not know how to implement them. How do the stakeholders ensure that the funding for training members to understand the legislation and policies is utilised in the correct manner? She requested NATU provide its submission of recommendations to the MTT, which were not incorporated as alleged. NATU has not said whether it agrees or disagrees with the recommendations contained in the Report.

Ms H Boshoff (DA) welcomed the presentations and said that the report by SACE is nonsensical and she cannot believe what was presented. She requested background information o every member of the MTT before she asked further questions.

Mr T Khoza (ANC) welcomed the presentations and said that all the stakeholders agreed on the creditability and worthiness of the MTT Report through the processes that were followed. He cautioned that the stakeholders are losing sight of the matter at hand because the attitude of individuals implicated in the Report must be dealt with. The fact that members were not notified of the proceedings can also be blamed on the unions because it cannot only be the responsibility of the Department to give notification about the investigation. The unions also had an obligation to notify its members. The right to freedom of association must not be taken away because it is a constitutional right, and educators cannot be denied the right to be associated with an organisation of their choice. If certain individuals are appointed to positions then it means that they were lucky to be appointed. The strength of the union cannot be challenged because it has recruited and won members. There are some rural areas which have SGBs which are capacitated and are functioning effectively. The recommendation that the powers of the SGB should be taken away cannot be supported. Rather the focus should be on capacitating those SGBs which do not have the necessary capacity.

Ms D van der Walt (DA) said that the issue is not about the existence of unions but about the operations of unions in terms of the observer status during interviews. The unions are there to ensure fair treatment and proper conditions and unions seem to have forgotten this. The MTT Report may have only implicated seven SADTU members but it is known that there are more people who did not come forward out of fear. School teaching hours should not be interrupted and the unions should stop holding meetings when their members should be in the classroom teaching. Unions have surprisingly little to say about the conditions at schools in deep rural areas which affect the quality of education. The capacitation of SGBs is important because parents in the past did not have the opportunity to participate in the education system of their children.

The Chairperson said that the Committee has shown interest in the operations of the unions because they play a critical role in the development of the education system. The MTT Report has a lot of loopholes but it is not entirely useless. The education system has systems in place but there are individuals who refuse to implement them at the expense of the educators and learners at large. She invited the stakeholders to respond to the comments and questions. If most of the senior posts are taken by SADTU then it means that there is unfair labour practice. The generalisation that all SGBs in rural areas are not capacitated is not true.

ELRC responded that as the custodian of fair labour practices they appreciate the comments made about the supremacy of the Constitution. It is important because when these matters are reflected on, sight is not lost of what the Constitution provides. It would be unsettling for ELRC to sit back and watch educators being offered posts on the basis of their political affiliation. The Bill of Rights guarantees everyone freedom of association, fair labour practices, and the right to belong to a political party of your choice. One cannot be denied a post because one is affiliated to a political party or a union associated with a particular party. A position must be filled on the basis of the skills and qualifications of the individual. The process must be free and fair and there is no requirement for a person not to be associated with a political party. ELRC cannot turn a blind eye to the selling of posts because these allegations must be addressed and the processes updated to avoid corruption. All the candidates who have grievances should approach ELRC so that their complaints can be addressed.

SACE responded that it is uncalled for that the SACE Report has been called nonsensical and it will take up the matter so that it can be addressed. The composition of the SACE Council is governed by the Act and as such the allocation cannot be up to SACE whereas it is the legislation that provides for it. SADTU does not have an influence over SACE and previous chairpersons are from other unions as well, and every person who is appointed into a senior position will come with a history and the important thing is that one must be impartial. SACE was not issued with an instruction to investigate but did so willingly because it could not turn a blind eye to the matter given its exposure in the matter. If evidence is requested to be provided by SACE, it will comply and cooperate accordingly. SACE does not absolve any wrongdoing by educators and supports fully that those found guilty of wrongdoing face the full wrath of the law. The SACE ethics committee is led by a deputy chairperson who is not a member of SADTU. No case has ever been quashed and the Council monitors this strictly.

SADTU responded that it was wrong for members of the Portfolio Committee to say that reports are nonsensical. Mr Maluleke said that he was appearing in Parliament for the first time and has watched the things that happen in Parliament on television and he is of the view that for a Member to say that a report is nonsensical borders on undermining and has a racial attitude to it. The capacity of SGBs must be strengthened. He said that the time when black people were garden boys and domestic workers for the Democratic Alliance, has come to an end. SADTU has a majority of membership because it has a large number of members in the country.

NAPTOSA responded that the difficulties of the MTT Report is that by nature the reporting will be anecdotal and evidence will always be hard to come by. It will be difficult to pinpoint exactly who are the perpetrators in the entire process and this will continue to be a weakness of the investigation. The SGBs in the rural areas may not be capacitated in full but there are those that are functioning effectively. Cadre deployment is a big problem because members end up being entitled to posts and this results in qualified people being sidelined for positions. The prevention mechanisms in future are a concern as they must ensure that the current challenges are addressed adequately.

NATU responded that its presentation was designed to express the organisation’s frustrations and apologised that it appeared to be political. The worry is that there are over 3000 positions advertised currently and if the processes that are a problem in the selling of posts, are not addressed adequately then the filling of those positions will be riddled with the same problem. The safeguarding of the interests of the education sector in the country must be of paramount importance. The terms of reference by the Minister show that the people implicated are the employees of the Department and members of the unions. There is a conflict of interest because it is the same people who are involved in the investigations and this jeopardises the chances of whistleblowers coming forward and the credibility of the investigation. NATU has no problem forwarding information to its members provided it is made aware of the information. It cannot pass forward what it is not made aware of.

PEU responded that the capacitation of SGB members in schools must be taken seriously. It requested that further engagements be held on the matter so that the education sector can be improved. The children in the schools who are future leaders and their interests must be safeguarded. There are schools which are dysfunctional because of poor leadership in the schools. The leadership is as a result of the manner in which persons are appointed to senior positions.

Ms Boshoff requested that SACE confirm that the allegations of a possible relationship between Mr Magalela and Ms Matseliso Dipholo, SACE Chief Operating Officer, and the neutrality of the Ministerial Task Team. Mr Magalela was investigated for sexual abuse and fraud and she requested more information on the allegations.

SACE replied that the allegations will be responded to in writing after all the information has been confirmed.

The Chairperson thanked everyone for their participation and said that further engagements on the matter will be held.

The meeting was adjourned.

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