Department slammed over matric markers pay
Durban – Another storm is brewing between the teacher union Sadtu and the Department of Education after union leaders on Monday lashed out at the department for failing to pay 500 matric markers on time and to settle payments owed to Grade 7 teachers.
The union has threatened to demonstrate outside Durban’s Nkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on January 6, when the province’s top matriculants will be celebrated for their successes in the 2015 exams, if payments were not made to the Grade R and matric markers.
Sadtu’s KwaZulu-Natal secretary, Nomarashiya Caluza, who was in a fiery mood on Monday, said the department had failed to pay 540 matric markers their minimum R15 000 marking salaries before Christmas as promised, and had also not paid Grade R teachers.
She lashed out at Head of Department, Nkosinathi Sishi, and Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni, and called for an investigation into how a department circular for a senior management position in the legal services department, which had been advertised for one post, suddenly became two when it was paid several weeks ago.
The post in question was R819 126 a year, she said.
“We have once again ended the year 2015 with the same department demonstrating sheer disregard of expected diligence to service delivery…
“It is this failure and negligence of the department that has once again resurfaced to depress workers at a very critical time,” Caluza fumed.
On the issue of the duplicated post, Caluza said it did not exist in the department’s organogram, and claimed that to appoint two people after advertising one was wrong.
“This illegal and unlawful appointment will cost the department millions of rands despite them preaching austerity measures daily. Policy directives have been breached,” she said.
Caluza said the financial implications of the posts, when all expenses, such as travel claims, were factored in, could cost the department up to R5m a year. She called for an investigation and for the post to be frozen pending the investigation.
Department spokesman, Muzi Mahlambi, said they would engage the union next week and confirmed that they had only advertised one post.
The Grade R teachers, who earn R5 500 per month stipends, are owed R500 salary adjustments that are to be backpaid to April.
They were due to be paid an initial R1 500 this month and the balance in the next two months.
“Grade R practitioners’ remain the most exploited workers in the department… The HOD’s blatant failure to provide strategic leadership in this crucial section has led to non-payment of the increment agreed upon in a special chamber meeting,” Caluza said.
Mahlambi said the non-payment of Grade R teachers was an “admin glitch” and said once the admin staff returned to work next week, they would prioritise the matter.
Referring to the 500 matric markers who had not been paid, he said this was due to incomplete documentation and said that more than 8 300 markers were paid without incident.
A Grade R teacher, Zanele Ndawonde, who teaches a class of 120 pupils at the Emaxulweni Primary School with one other teacher, said their wages were below an acceptable standard for the work they had to do.
“I am a mother and I have my own children whom I have to support with the little money I earn. I am also still studying at Unisa. My main concern is that they are not developing us.
“When officials come here, all they do is criticise us. They don’t understand the challenge we face of having to teach a huge classroom of children who have never held a pencil before to write,” she said.
“Some babies come to school with no food and I have to take from my own pocket to feed them. These kids also wet themselves. We are in a small, prefabricated classroom and work the same hours like everyone, but we get paid less,” she said.