Sadtu-driven corruption in education – cancer about to be excised at last?

Many South Africans were shocked by last week’s revelations that the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) is buying and selling teaching jobs. Not all of us. Midway through his brilliant How Long Will SA Survive?, RW Johnson addresses the topic in some detail by arguing “the public sector salariat is increasingly unanswerable to government……..teachers have largely escaped from state control…..Sadtu officials buy and sell headmasterships and other schools posts.” Johnson reminds us how in April 2014 two KZN principals and the ANC’s councillor in the Ugu municipality were charged with murdering two Sadtu colleagues who had blown the whistle on corruption. The Sadtu response to revelations that post selling had been going on since the 1990s, the former Oxford don continues, was “to declare war on anyone who threatened to fight them……it is perfectly obvious that SA can make no real progress towards producing a better educated workforce unless Sadtu is tamed – but it is a matter of belling the cat and government ministers are frankly scared of the union’s power.”  Last week’s public revelations and today’s response from Sadtu suggest the tide may be turning. As the story below reveals, now that heat is being brought to bear, rather than the classic retort of defending the indefensible, the union is trying to spread the blame. The problem with ignoring disease is that it makes eventual treatment so much harder. Perhaps, as last, this particular cancer is ready to be excised. – Alec Hogg

By Lizeka Tandwa, News24

Johannesburg – Education department officials are the corrupt ones, not Sadtu, a senior union official claimed on Sunday.

But this allegation was rejected by an education spokesperson, who told News24 this was impossible.

The SA Democratic Teachers Union came out strongly against the basic education department on Sunday, accusing senior officials of being involved in a jobs-for-cash syndicate.

Sadtu’s General Secretary John Maluleke told News24 that high ranking officials in the education department had either accepted bribes or used undue influence to appoint teachers and principals.

Maluleke told News24 that Sadtu had reported the syndicate to the department of education long before City Press reported on the jobs-for-cash racket but nothing had been done.

This comes after Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga released an interim report on Thursday about an investigation that followed a damning exposé by the City Press newspaper that appeared to implicate the union in nationwide selling of teaching posts.

Angie-Motshekga
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga released an interim report on the jobs-for-cash scandal last week.

Sadtu was also fingered as the main culprit in the education department report. Motshekga said she was aware of the strength of unions and that in some provinces, Sadtu appeared to control the government.

According to the report, government systems have allowed an exploitation of the system, which compromised proper appointments of critical teaching posts.

The report goes on to say that Sadtu has a “stranglehold” on government, whereby they call the shots.
But on Sunday, Maluleka claimed the education department was the real culprit.

“This scam doesn’t only end with principals and union members selling posts on the ground, this syndicate goes to the top offices in the department,” he told News24.

Maluleka denied allegations that the union was in control of most of the country’s education departments. He said the education department was making Sadtu the scapegoat.

“Sadtu is not corrupt. It is certain individuals who are members of the union that are tarnishing our name. Our members are deployed as public servants like any other union.

“The education department must not use us as a scapegoat if they are failing to implement their own policies. We know that high ranking officials in the department of education are involved in this scam and we have reported this.”Sadtu has always been a useful scapegoat for the department of education,”

Maluleka said.Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said it would be impossible for high ranking education officials to use their powers to appoint teachers.He said teacher appointments were made by provincial and district officials.

“The department of education is not involved in the appointment of teachers… that alone would make it difficult for Pretoria to have any influence in any provinces.”What we have found is arrangements that are made in districts. I don’t see how they would be involved,” Mahlanga told News24. – News24