The United Democratic Movement Youth Vanguard (UDMYV) commends national government for supporting educators’ bursaries, as well as the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in order to advance disadvantaged learners, especially those from informal and rural areas.

It is however discouraging that, even though educators continue to commit themselves to ensure that learners receive an acceptable standard of education, their efforts are not sufficiently recognised.

Amongst their major concerns, in the Eastern Cape in particular, are:
(i) Lack of coordination between the school governing bodies, district and the provincial offices when it comes to assumption of duties dates;
(ii) Late payment of monthly remuneration; and
(iii) Inefficient protocols in dealing with the authorisations for placement.

Coordination issues have been raised mostly by educators on short term contracts and by those in substitute posts. The school principal and the employee would sign the assumption of duty on a date later than the start date of engagement, in which case this document would be backdated.

When this document is submitted to the relevant district office, the date of assumption of duty would be questioned and be changed to the perceived date of submission to the district. This issue would consequently affect the remuneration payment due to the employee and it is in contravention of Section 29(1)(d) of Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) which requires that the employer indicates the date on which the employment began.

Based on anecdotal information collected in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape, the majority of educators are not paid on time in the Eastern Cape and in some districts in KwaZulu Natal.

Section 29(1)(j) of BCEA requires that the employer indicate the frequency of how remuneration will be paid and Section 32(1)(b) requires that the employee be paid by the employer in money either daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

It is apparent that this is rarely complied with. In most cases, educators (notably those on contracts or in substitute posts) are paid three months late and in worst cases five, which violates best practice.

This ongoing bad labour practice requires urgent attention. This kind of negligence has a domino effect and not only negatively affects educators, but also those in need of a better education.

Inefficient systems of authorisation are linked to the above two issues. Educators are no paid on time and the response always is: “We are waiting for authorisation”. The innovative world is doing away with paper and the Department of Basic Education should be using online systems – from requisitions to authorisations.

This inefficiency mostly affects young graduates who need their salaries the most to sustain their monthly expenses and commitments, such as student loans. How do you expect them to produce results if they are demotivated?

Government must recognise educators’ efforts in ensuring that all learners receive quality education as endorsed by the Constitution. The UDMYV therefore demands Minister Angie Motshekga’s urgent intervention in this long lasting administrative and systematic negligence, and unfair labour practice.

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Issued by:
Mr Masonwabe Nqawe
UDM Youth Vanguard