Northern Cape education department on wild goose chase

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Northern Cape: Provincial Leader

The Democratic Alliance is of the view that the Northern Cape Education Department is on a wild goose chase to discourage dedicated teachers and that this illogical and damaging behavior is being informed by poor legal advice provided by departmental officials. Having previously brought this matter to the attention of Education MEC, Grizelda Cjiekella, to no avail, the DA will now report this matter to Premier Sylvia Lucas.

It has come to the DA’s attention that certain education officials think that, because they are politically connected, they can squander state money on unnecessary court cases, as they please. It has also come to our attention that often times the teachers bearing the brunt of this action, are those who choose not to be affiliated with SADTU, whom we all know yields much power within the education department.

Mr Jan de Kock, a former principle of Venus Primary School, was chased away from the school when he tried to reclaim his position, despite him winning an arbitration award from was the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC).  He is not alone. The intimidation of Enid Davids, who is also an educator at Venus Primary School, is another case in point.  Davids was dismissed and eventually reinstated after five appearances in the Labour Court and the Labour Appeals Court. Despite these interventions, she is still being harassed in the work place. Davids has already paid a considerable amount of money, to the tune of R169 000, to prove her innocence. There is also the case of George Claasen, a mathematician by profession, who is facing similar charges.

In respect of the above cases, it surpasses the DA’s understanding that the courts make a ruling in favour of the accused, only to find out that the Education Department then places these cases on review. Clearly, the education officials who have been wrongfully advising the department are still calling the shots.

The DA wants the Premier to intervene in this department. We also want to know from her at what stage of the game, the responsible education officials will be held accountable, in their personal capacity, for costs incurred as a result of ill legal advice?

We hope the Premier treats this matter with urgency because, at the end of the day, it is the school children who are suffering the most.

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