The Department of Basic Education (DBE) released the above report by the MTT on the investigation of allegations into the selling of posts of educators by some members of teachers unions and departmental officials in the various provincial education departments. NAPTOSA engaged with the report and submitted its views on the report. The following captures the essence of the NAPTOSA submission.

At the outset NAPTOSA condemns all forms of corruption associated with appointments and promotions. NAPTOSA recorded its acknowledgement of the MTT for the effort put into investigating the vexing problem of posts for sale, inappropriate appointments and corruption within the Department of Basic Education (DBE)/Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) as a result of undue influence on processes by parties. NAPTOSA indicated its disappointment at the outcome of the MTT investigation, as NAPTOSA members have felt the brunt of these corrupt appointment processes. NAPTOSA is perturbed that the report takes a very negative view of unionism and unions to the point where it appears that a fair amount of union criticism has crept in, instead of clinical investigation and analysis of facts.

NAPTOSA views the MTT’s recommendation to remove School Governing Bodies (SGBs) from the appointment process for post levels 2, 3 and 4 as problematic. NAPTOSA notes that while it is acknowledged that some SGBs have been manipulated by others or have themselves been guilty of corrupt practices, there are also SGBs that have been managing the process of appointment very successfully in the best interest of their school communities. Because of rogue elements and/or incapacity in some SGBs it is not reasonable to remove this right from all SGBs. NAPTOSA acknowledges that SGBs are the 4th tier in the democratic participative structure of our country and it is right and proper that parents have an important voice in their schools. Criminal activity must certainly be stopped! However, it is evident from responses from the public in the media, that it is the lack of SGB capacity that must be addressed.

NAPTOSA leadership is of the understanding that if the DBE/PEDs believe transformation is being hindered by SGBs that is a matter to be addressed on a school-by-school basis. Democratic participation must be promoted. Centralised control of schools is anti-democratic, fosters dependency and does not necessarily lead to better appointments and performance. 

NAPTOSA leadership is of the opinion that if the recommendations related to removing SGB powers were to be implemented, then it would be a true case of appointing the wolf as the shepherd, as it ignores the fact that many of the Departmental appointees who the MTT suggests should now be in charge have achieved their promotion through the same corrupt processes of cadre deployment and promotion of friends and associates.

As a union NAPTOSA has always taken pride in the manner of its engagement and the professional activist role played by its observers to processes such as appointments and promotions as well as its contribution to broader educational issues, hence NAPTOSA rejects the recommendation to limit unions’ role in educational matters.  Furthermore, an element of the report that NAPTOSA takes strong exception to, is the generalisations about education unions and the perception that learners’ needs are least important, she added.

It must be noted that one of NAPTOSA‘s founding principles is, “the inalienable right of every child and student to quality education within an equitable and non-discriminatory system of education”, therefore broad statements that unions are, for example, “adversarial” and “Not concerned about quality education” are rejected as simplistic and lacking in understanding of the complicated terrain in which NAPTOSA operates.

While NAPTOSA accepts the report as an honest attempt to address a complex problem but is very concerned that the manner in which the allegations and investigations have been captured in the report have probably exposed a number of complainants and witnesses to untold dangers.  

NAPTOSA laments the tone and tenor of the report, as well as the carte blanche approach towards making judgements and recommendations based on the limited extent of the investigations by the MTT. Clearly what we have been exposed to through this report merely skims the surface.

NAPTOSA believes that the corrupt practices are deep-rooted across the country and what is now required is the political will to act to eradicate corruption and to fix the brokenness of the education system that the MTT report has exposed to a limited degree.

NB. There were 16 recommendations by the MTT that NAPTOSA commented on in detail.
NAPTOSA’s full submission is available on the NAPTOSA website.

Basil Manuel