The investigation followed the National Teachers’ Union’s (Natu) meeting with Motshekga last month, where Natu officials raised concerns of alleged mismanagement and misappropriation of funds in connection with the oversupply of sanitary pads, the non-filling of vacant posts and pupils without identity documents being refused funding by the department.
The non-adjustments of Grade R teachers’ salaries would also be looked into.
Motshekga responded that she had met MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana and department head Enock Nzama to discuss the allegations.
“I have deployed a team of senior officials from the Department of Basic Education to the (KZN) Department of Education to investigate challenges relating to human resources management and the non-payment of teachers.”
Motshekga affirmed her commitment to establish a multidisciplinary task team, comprising senior line managers and from other provincial departments, including the National Treasury, Department of Public Service and Administration and Department of Home Affairs.
A significant number of pupils in KZN do not have identity documents and so were excluded by the department when allocating resources, leaving their schools underfunded.
The department claimed the exclusion of pupils without IDs was a national policy. However, Natu deputy president Allen Thompson said the union had asked Motshekga about this and was told the Basic Education Department had not given any instructions to exclude pupils without IDs. He said the department was robbing schools of money already budgeted for by the National Treasury and violating pupils’ right to education.
The denial of some schools’ powers to get their own stationery and books - instead forcing them to order through the KZN department’s central procurement system, would also be investigated.
Motshekga said the department was acting in conflict with the prescripts of the South African Schools Act.
Motshekga said she would seek the assistance of the Home Affairs Department to address the challenges relating to undocumented pupils.
She warned that failure by the provincial department to self-correct the issues would leave her with no choice but to ask the cabinet to invoke legal processes of intervention, including a forensic investigation.