Pretoria – Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has released the long awaited Ministerial Task Team (MTT) report into the allegations of selling of posts for teachers (‘jobs for cash’).
According to the department, the recommendations of the task team will be carefully considered and implemented to ensure that the system is strengthened for a better quality education.
Minister Motshekga set up a Task Team led by Professor John Volmink following allegations in the media in 2014 that some members of teacher unions and department officials were involved in illegal activities involving the selling of educator posts.
Prior to the release of the report, the Minister held meetings with the various stakeholders including the Teacher Unions as well as the Associations of School Governing Bodies and agreed on the need for an investigation.
A total of 81 cases were investigated, 38 of which provided grounds for reasonable suspicion or wrongdoing.
“Investigations into most of these allegations have not been concluded and an extension of the forensic part of this report has been granted.
“The forensic part of the whole investigation is expected to be completed in August 2016 after which, the necessary remedial action will be instituted,” the department said in a statement.
The department says there are general recommendations regarding the conduct of unions and officials in relation to their lack of adherence to their roles and responsibilities as prescribed in the applicable laws and procedures.
“The report of the Ministerial Task Team on the selling of posts highlights a lack of consistency and understanding of School Governing Body members regarding the appointment systems and procedures.
“These challenges require the Department to reform laws and regulations regarding appointments in the basic education sector,” the department said.
There are allegations and specific recommendations about a number of identified individuals, who it is alleged, participated in one or other form of corruption or selling of posts.
The key findings are that there is a need to strengthen accountability in education, with a special emphasis on short-term measures, by ensuring that:
The department take control as an employer of appointing the most suitable teachers in terms of qualifications, skills, attributes, and ability. The department will do this, by establishing interviewing and appointment panels that are independent, that would be vetted regularly, and that would undergo training on appointment procedures and requirements for posts in education,
The changes to appointment procedures, require large-scale advocacy of parent and school communities, so that everyone is informed of the changes, and
The department should protect the integrity of the appointment procedures by setting up a dedicated call centre, where any irregular activities can be reported with a short-term turnaround response.
A proposed legislative amendment, which is still in the process of being finalised, deals with a number of issues emanating from the Report of the Ministerial Task Team to review education legislation. Inter alia, the amendment will contain a proposal that any appointment, promotion or transfer will be the responsibility of the Heads of Provincial Education Departments, with an initial focus on promotional posts on post levels 2 to 4.
The amendment will furthermore propose that the Minister be empowered to make regulations to prescribe the manner in which this and employment practices in general will be carried out. This may include the composition of interviewing panels, vetting of panel members, and a number of other matters which could prevent the practices of selling of posts.
The Minister has paid tribute to the Task Team members for undertaking such a delicate task and doing it without fear or favour.