Teachers in the Vhembe area are complaining about being side-lined when it comes to permanent appointments. They allege that bursary students get preferential treatment and older, more experienced teachers are left to sit at home.
A group of teachers, calling themselves the Vhembe Unemployed Teachers Forum, recently met with the Limpopo Department of Education. They allege that the department’s recruitment process only favours graduates who have studied with the help of a Funza Lushaka bursary or with a Department of Education bursary.
A forum member said that they started asking questions last year. After numerous failed attempts to address the problem with the Vhembe district manager, the forum subsequently reached out to the provincial department and even sent out letters to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“We started addressing our problem with the department from August to December last year. Those people didn’t want to meet with us or address our problem,” he said. He claimed that since they started addressing this challenge, the department had already blacklisted some of them.
“Usually in January we apply for these temporary posts. We submit our particulars at the Makwarela office, but starting from this year we are no longer being hired. We believe it is the department’s strategy to sabotage us,” he said.
He said for the past six to ten years teachers had been working in temporary posts. “These are qualified teachers, but just because they didn’t use those bursaries to study, they are not employed permanently,” he said.
He claimed that more than 200 unemployed teachers in the district had been struggling to secure permanent jobs.
“A temporary teacher will work in a four-month temporary post, but whenever a Funza Lushaka bursary beneficiary graduates, he/she will take that post on a permanent basis although their subjects may not be aligned with that post,” he alleged.
Another temporary teacher who is working in a one-year substitution post said the department only made empty promises. The 55-year-old teacher said he applied for posts every year, since he could not secure a permanent post.
“That education spokesperson told the radio (station) that it was foreigners who were hired in temporary posts. He is lying to the public, because it is South Africans who are working in those posts,” said the infuriated teacher.
The spokesperson for the Limpopo Department of Education, Mr Sam Makondo, said that they had met with the forum on several occasions, together with a delegation from the National Department.
He said it was every teacher's choice to apply for a temporary post. Makondo said the job adverts stipulate clearly that the posts are temporary and yet these teachers are complaining. “We heard of these allegations of unfair treatment, but it couldn’t be proven to be true,” he said.
Makondo said the department had an obligation to place the Funza Lushaka beneficiaries at the schools within a specified period, hence they were prioritised.
Date:25 May 2019 - By: Phathutshedzo Luvhengo