Strong reaction to non-appointment of education staff

The education union, SAOU, has condemned a moratorium by the Free State Department of Education on the appointment of all personnel in the province saying it is considering legal steps.

This follows a circular by the department notifying schools and stakeholders that because of the “tight fiscal environment” only teachers in Mathematics, Science and Accounting will be appointed. The circular was distributed January 10 this year toe senior officials, managers and school headmasters.

The union’s provincial secretary, Reniel Lodewyk, says the circular states that no other personnel can be appointed until the end of March. This includes staff appointments from last year’s vacancy list that had not been signed off by December 15.

Lodewyk says the union has already requested the department to withdraw the instruction, failing which the SAOU, in collaboration with other stakeholders, will instruct their lawyers to proceed with legal action.

Lodewyk told Bloemfontein Courant yesterday that the union wrote a letter to the MEC of Education, Tate Makgoe and the department’s newly appointed HOD Tsoarelo Malakoane, expressing their serious concerns as well as dissatisfaction about the department’s decision of non-appointment of all staff until March 2017. According to him the circular is contradictory to the agreed upon Post Provisioning Norms of 2017. It is also unconstitutional in Terms of Section 29.1 stating “everyone has the right to basic and further education. Lodewyk also refers to Section 28.2 of the Constitution stating “the best interest of a child is imperative in all decisions taken”. In the circular the department said the it is “concerned about the escalating expenditure on the compensation of employees in a tight fiscal environment.

The Free State’s cash-strapped education department has been under administration for more than a year. The department has not responded yet to Courant’s inquiry. – Christal-Lize Muller