Allen Grootboom, MPL
DA Northern Cape: DA Provincial Spokesperson of Education
ABET education is, next to other levels of education, an important pillar of education. It contributes to broadening the skills base in our country.
But what is really happening in ABET when a furor is going on with respect to the lowering of ABET educators’ salaries, while at the same time some ABET educators have received astronomical earnings in excess of R130 074,52 for one month?
The Democratic Alliance believes that the Department of Education has a lot of explaining to do regarding how it came about that an educator received three cheques for one month. The first totaled a bruto salary of R101 342,88. The employee was taxed R25 127,28. On the same day, the same employee received a bruto salary of R11 841,16, as a compensation allowance. Six days later, the educator received another payment. This time, the compensation allowance was R16 890. All in all, the educator received a bruto salary of R130 074,52 for December, was taxed R31 093,42 and took home a sum of R 98 941,04 – quite nice holiday money. Whilst the sum of R31 093,42 was deducted for tax, SARS only received R12 752,36 as reflected on the pay sheet. If the department says that it was back-pay that the official received, it means that this educator did not receive a salary for more than ten to twelve months.
One ABET educator said that she has been in ABET for more than seven years. Although tax was deducted from her salary, she had no tax number. Shortly after, she made an inquiry because she became registered at the end of last year. She wanted to know what happened to the monies deducted for tax. Irregularities were also reported in respect of LTSM, and so the list goes on.
An ABET educator who refused to be named was asked to withdraw the amount which was “erroneously” added to the salary and bring the cash back to the department. Another source, who used the money paid in, has to pay one thousand monthly to the department. In both cases these educators did not get any receipts.
When the education department presented its first quarter report, it explained why the salaries of ABET educators was lowered, yet the expenditure remained the same. The number of lecturers decreased, while some centres remained dysfunctional. No clear guidance and direction is evident in this
field. The resourcing of these centres and assistance to educators remains a challenge to which the department does not respond.
ABET educators, who refused to be named for fear that they will be victimized by not having their contracts extended, said that they just have to make do with the little they get.
The expectation of running and smooth organization should be inspired by planning. The provincial and district offices did not plan centre visits, neither keep records of visits which included provision of LTSM. One manager is reportedly selling LTSM, which were dumped on her lap. She said it makes up for the lowering of her salary. Training needs were not assessed as some centre managers do not have any education qualifications. The excuse was NO BUDGET and yet expenditure in this regard is reflected in educational reports! Where does this money go to? I said it is difficult to go to the heart of the matter as the Premier and MEC for Education refuse to make public the contents of the forensic audit instituted in the department in 2010. The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that high ranking politicians are being protected.
When the DA takes over the province, it will make sure that it cuts out the heart of the prevailing corruption that seriously affects service delivery.
It can rightfully be asked: what is the ABET budget being used for?