An education disaster is looming in Limpopo due to the provincial education department’s abuse of power. Illegal actions pertaining to appointments are costing schools a lot of money and large-scale staff shortages mean that quality education is not possible.
“The Limpopo Education Department acts as if there is no legislation in the province and in the process is trampling on the rights of educators, schools and governing bodies,” says Dr. Jaco Deacon, Deputy CEO of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (FEDSAS).
Deacon says FEDSAS received complaints about posts that have not been filled since 2011. “There are school principal posts that have been vacant for more than two years and that have not been advertised since 2017.”
The Department simply ignores regulations regarding appointments announced by the Minister of Basic Education that are focused on regulating the entire appointment process. Deacon says according to these regulations positions should be advertised at the hand of the requirements of the school. Applications are then sifted by the Department, following which a shortlist is compiled and interviews are conducted by the governing body. The governing body then makes a recommendation to the Head of Education.
“In Limpopo the Department simply instructs principals and SGB Chairpersons to be at the Department at a specific date. The Department then expects them to sign documentation in order for the Department to ‘place’ educators at schools. FEDSAS members who refuse to take part in this illegal process are threatened. As employees of the Department principals are placed under enormous pressure to sign documentation.”
Deacon says it appears as if the leadership in Limpopo and even the national education department do not have the will to address problems within the framework of the South African Schools’ Act, the Educators’ Employment Act and other legal frameworks.
“Again it is going to cost schools thousands to fight these illegal actions in court. In most instances the courts side with governing bodies, which implies that tax payers will be paying for the Limpopo Education Department’s illegal actions.”
FEDSAS is calling on Minister Angie Motshekga to intervene in order to prevent the collapse of the education system in Limpopo.