By George Mari, MPL, Member of the DA Caucus in the KZN Legislature:
THE Phoenix teacher, who took an astounding 1 522 days of sick leave, remains on the payroll of KZN’s Education department despite having been dismissed almost two years ago.
The information forms part of a parliamentary reply to the DA from MEC Peggy Nkonyeni.
Three months ago, the DA revealed that Teresa Naicker had taken a massive 1 522 days of sick leave over a 15 year period and owed the department R519 420 in the event that her appeal failed.
At the time the department confirmed that the appeal had not taken place within the prescribed 90 days due to “a severe backlog of appeal cases”.
The latest reply indicates that the appeal has still not taken place. It also reveals that the department is also currently paying a substitute teacher.
Naicker was dismissed in September 2013 following a disciplinary hearing where she was found guilty of forging a doctor’s signature and failing to submit leave forms.
This was ten years after the school had initially taken up the matter. During this time her application for medical board was turned down twice. She was also discharged on the ground of incapacity in January 2012 and in June 2012.
According to school officials she applies for leave at the beginning of every term and the school has not been informed whether her leave has been granted by health risk management.
Most years have an average of around 200 school days. If an educator is absent for half of those days for 15 years there is a generation of learners who have been impacted negatively.
The DA demands that MEC Nkonyeni give this matter her urgent attention. We expect her to clarify the situation around Ms Naicker’s salary and to fast-track this appeal so that this protracted matter can be concluded.