Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Up to 600 ghost teachers uncovered in KZN

Up to 600 ghost teachers uncovered in KZN - Tom Stokes
Tom Stokes
24 January 2012

DA supports auditing of schools, says problem may be the tip of the iceberg

THE Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal fully supports ongoing efforts by the province's Education Department to root out "ghost teachers" who continue to rob the coffers of a department facing its biggest challenge yet (see report).

The fact that 600 salaries are being paid each month to people who may not be educators is appalling. While the department has not yet confirmed the exact figure paid, it is clear that this is a massive financial drain and that the money could be put to far better use by upgrading collapsing infrastructure at a vast number of schools in the province, along with improving the general performance of the education system in KwaZulu-Natal.

The pilot exercise currently being conducted within the department - which involves sending auditors to every school across the province in a bid to expose so-called "ghost teachers" - is a sad commentary on a department which cannot to get grips with its most basic of administrative functions.

The Democratic Alliance calls on KZN Education MEC, Senzo Mchunu, to expedite the process of eradicating these fraudsters by ensuring that the bank accounts into which these salaries are being paid are traced. The DA is most concerned by ongoing suspicion that the department's head office staff are aiding "ghost teachers", by creating opportunities for the illicit siphoning of funds to educators who do not exist. The MEC and his department must act upon this serious allegation and ensure that criminal action is taken against the culprits concerned.

It is possible that the "ghost teacher" problem is just the tip of the department's employee and PERSAL problems. It must be remembered that the Auditor-General found there were leave entitlements amounting to R2,897 billion last year, which could not be adequately verified as there were no proper leave records. It is disgraceful that this department still does not have accurate records of who its employees are, when they have worked and when they have taken leave.

Statement issued by Tom Stokes, MPP, DA KZN Spokesperson on Education, January 24 2012

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