KZN’s 3 000 vacancies at schools alarms DA

The MEC for Education in KwaZulu-Natal, Mbali Frazer. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

The MEC for Education in KwaZulu-Natal, Mbali Frazer. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Published Dec 11, 2023


Durban — At least 3 198 government-funded vacancies have not been filled by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education.

This was revealed in a written parliamentary reply to questions by DA KZN education spokesperson Dr Imran Keeka.

Keeka said: “These are government-funded vacancies, which have not been filled, to the detriment of KZN’s learners. Not filling these vacancies does not bode well in ensuring quality education.”

KZN Education MEC Mbali Frazer, in her reply, confirmed that 685 of the posts were for principals, while 389 were for deputy principals. A further 1 215 positions were for departmental heads and 909 were for teachers.

She further revealed that uMlazi had the highest number of school vacancies, with a total of 483 vacancies and a shortage of 445 teachers. Pinetown comes second, with an overall vacancy rate of 353 and a shortage of 338 teachers.

According to Frazer, a total of 2 753 posts were filled during the past calendar year.

Keeka said it was alarming that the Department of Education in KZN had not filled the 3 198 positions as this would have a major impact on the quality of education.

“Larger class sizes and a lack of leadership results in instability and internal battles. It also leads to unhealthy and corrupt filling of vacancies.

“In instances where posts are unfilled for prolonged periods, some individuals remain in acting posts for far too long. This creates an unfair expectation, with many feeling entitled to the post,” said Keeka.

He said unfilled vacancies were to the detriment of KZN’s learners.

“There are at least 1 800 qualified educators sitting at home in our province, with their degrees and experience collecting dust. While millions of KZN learners are unwittingly disadvantaged as a result of inadequate political leadership within KZN’s educational system, MEC Frazer and her department continue to blame budget cuts,” said Keeka.

He said the DA had spoken about the Good Quality Triad (GQT) in education, which includes sound leadership at the apex, good parental involvement and well-built and maintained school infrastructure.

“Yet, KZN’s ANC-run Department of Education continues to fixate on the matric pass rate as a determinant of its success to the detriment of these critical areas. It lacks both the political capacity and commitment to provide quality education,” Keeka said.

In addition, a report released in November by Equal Education revealed that poor conditions at schools were a cause of poor performance by both teachers and learners.

Equal Education further stated in its report that the country was still experiencing a learning crisis, and many schools were still contending with unacceptable physical conditions such as overcrowded classrooms, schools built with unsafe materials, dilapidated toilets and unclean water.

SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) deputy provincial secretary Jabulani Nxumalo said the issue of vacant positions was one of the union’s priorities.

“This matter leaves schools and education institutions, including districts, in a very compromised condition, which directly impacts on the delivery of quality public education.

“The issues do not only include the non-filling of substantive vacant posts, but also the timely filling of substitute posts for employees who are on temporary or long incapacity leave. We, however, are continuing to engage the department in finding a long-lasting solution to the problem at hand,” said Nxumalo.

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