Cadre Deployment and Unions Destroying Education

Cadre deployment and the appointment of union officials to the department of basic education “weakens” the department and the country’s education system‚ Parliament heard on Wednesday.

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Hubert Mweli

This is according to the department of education’s director general Hubert Mathanzima Mweli‚ who briefed the portfolio committee on the progress of the “jobs for sale” report released earlier this year.

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga was also in attendance.

Mweli said the department found that the “deployment of officials to the department from unions weakens the department because those so deployed often struggle to demonstrate that they are able to balance the complexity of competing loyalties and demands”.

The jobs for cash scandal follows the department’s investigation last year‚ after allegations surfaced that principals had to pay up to R30‚000 to get a job.

“The policy is very clear. Unions are observers and I have said that my simple understanding of observer is that you do nothing. You observe the process as it unfolds. How it happens that people actively participate in the process I really don’t know how that is allowed‚” said Mweli.

He said if officials who oversee these processes kept to their roles and responsibilities‚ Parliament would not be even having a discussion on the matter.

“Deployment of cadres there’s nothing wrong about it‚ it’s done all over the world. The problem is the way it’s understood and the way it’s implemented. If you appoint people who are not qualified‚ who don’t have requisite experience‚ then there’s a problem‚” said Mweli.

He said the department would be meeting with school principals and district officials and needed to usher in a “new culture”. He said some cases would be reported to the police for them to act “with immediate effect” against those implicated.

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Angie Motshekga

Motshekga said since the last time they appeared before the committee they had “institutionalised” the report and captured it in the department’s system. She said the cabinet has also been briefed about it.

“We’ve made lots of progress‚” said Motshekga.

The DA’s Gavin Davis asked Motshekga to also table the report in the National Assembly formally through the speaker’s office.

“A key finding of the report is that our education system has been captured by Sadtu (SA Democratic Teachers Union). Some colleagues tell me it’ not just Sadtu it’s all the unions‚” said Davis.

Babalo Ndenze

This article appeared in the Sunday Times on 23 November 2016

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