Venus Primary debacle – respect the law

Andrew Louw MPL

DA Northern Cape : Leader  

The Democratic Alliance believes that while justice has taken its course in the court victory of a local schoolteacher, who was wrongfully suspended without pay, we remain concerned that the Northern Cape Education Department and all of its players still consider themselves to be above the law and will once again refute a court order to reinstate the said educator at Venus Primary School in Kimberley.    

Mrs Enid Davids has won the case against her wrongful suspension on four consecutive occasions, including in the Labour Court in Cape Town on Thursday last week, where the court ordered that she be reinstated at Venus Primary School with immediate effect, that she receive her full remuneration from the date of her wrongful suspension on 14 April 2011 until now, and that the department be held responsible for the costs.   

 Similar court orders, however, have previously fallen on the deaf ears of the respondents in the case, including the MEC for Education, the Head of the Northern Cape Education Department, the Venus Primary school principal and the greater provincial education department. In fact, about two weeks ago, Mrs Davids won a similar court order whereby she arrived at work to start teaching, only to be left standing in the foyer for hours, until she decided to seek further legal assistance.

  The DA fails to understand how Mrs Davids was suspended in the first place, and how her salary was stopped, when clearly the department didn’t have a leg to stand on. It is a disgrace that this hardworking teacher has had to endure a torturous eleven months because of the department’s ill-advised stubbornness.  

 The DA remains of the opinion that the provincial education department is receiving poorly informed legal advice from its internal advisory unit. They have embarked on a wild goose chase against a dedicated educator, and now don’t have the guts to admit their wrongdoing. It is high time that the guilty officials be held personally responsible for this mess, which is set to cost the department thousands of rands in wasteful expenditure.      The DA calls on the Acting Premier and MEC for Education, Grizelda Cjiekella, to take a stand and do what is right by abiding by the law. This said, Mrs Davids was due to report to school today (Monday, 19 March) to start teaching. We sincerely hope that all role-players respect the judicial system and afford Mrs Davids her rightful place at Venus Primary School, as well as that they immediately stop trying to relocate her to Kevin Nkoane School and finally pay her what is due to her.

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