In response to the allegations, Fisantekraal High School principal Leopold Vries said he met with the group about the situation. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency
In response to the allegations, Fisantekraal High School principal Leopold Vries said he met with the group about the situation. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency

Fisantekraal teaching assistants up in arms over missing pay, contract termination

By Nomalanga Tshuma Time of article published Sep 10, 2021

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Cape Town - Disgruntled teaching assistants who are placed in the posts of teachers with co-morbidities at Fisantekraal High School are furious with the school because their contracts have been terminated without warning or pay.

Teacher assistant, Senobia Gysman said she and four other teacher assistants, were left in shock on Wednesday afternoon when they were told their contracts ended, after they asked the school’s principal why they had not been paid their stipend for August.

“After our initial teaching assistant contracts from last year ended early this year, we got called back to the school to work again.

“That was in June.

“They told us that the department was letting them take on a few assistants to work in place of teachers with co-morbidities.

“We were happy as this meant work, however, things got strange in July when we were not paid the full amount as usual and, in August we got nothing. Worse when we questioned this we were let go.

“Now we’re back at home with nothing to show for the work we did,” said Gysman.

In response to the allegations, Fisantekraal High School principal Leopold Vries said he met with the group about the situation.

He said he tried to assure them that he would resolve the situation.

“Yesterday I explained to them why they had not been paid their full stipend in July.

“That it was because they had not worked the full month because of the long holiday we had from June 30 until July 26.”

“I told them that the termination of their contracts, the department had told us that they were ending now and not at the end of the year as we had all thought.

“I am trying to resolve the situation as best as I can.

“I have sent correspondence to the WCED to see how best we can assist them and, if they cannot I will be engaging our SGB to see that we help them,” said Vries.

However, irate parent Anthony Blaauw said he lost faith in the principal who was not being honest about his dealings.

Blaauw said when his daughter told him what was happening, he made his inquiries only to find out that Vries took too long to send the teaching assistant’s paperwork to the department for July.

The result was them not getting their full stipends and for August nothing.

WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said: “I can confirm that Gyfman was employed under the BEEI initiative and was paid up until March under the stimulus programme.

“Four assistants remained to assist schools when teachers had applied to work from home as a result of co-morbidities.”

“However, in July, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) issued a circular which outlined the operational requirements for educators, following the implementation of the Basic Education Sector Covid-19 Vaccination Programme.”

“The assistants had been paid up until the end of July, however, August is thus outstanding due to the changes in conditions as discussed above.

“The SGB is meeting next week to discuss a way forward and is engaging with the WCED.

“They have communicated with the assistants concerned and will engage with them once clarity is sought.”

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