Cadre, union official placings weaken education system

Cadre deployment and the appointment of union officials to the Department of Basic Education weaken it and the country’s education system, parliament heard yesterday.

This is according to department director-general Hubert Mathanzima Mweli, who briefed the portfolio committee on the progress report on the jobs-for-sale report released earlier this year.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga was also in attendance.

Mweli said the department had found that the deployment of officials to the department from unions weakened 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,” Mweli said. “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.”

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

They would meet principals and district officials and “we need to usher in a new culture”.

He said some cases would be reported to the police.