KZN teaching assistants not paid December salaries
DURBAN - Teaching assistants in KwaZulu-Natal are yet to receive their December salaries and have accused the provincial department of not providing reasons why they have not yet been paid.
A total of 319 061 assistants were appointed nationally to help teachers with curriculum coverage and learner homework assistance.
The assistants were appointed on three month contracts from December to March this year, and about 76 000 were recruited in KZN.
One of the teacher assistants, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal, said that they were employed by the department of education and were assured that they would be paid on December 22.
Speaking to The Mercury yesterday, she said that they were upset that they were not paid.
“We started working on December 2, and they told us that we would be paid on the 22nd in the same month. We were shocked when we didn’t receive the payments, and we waited, hoping that maybe along that week, we will receive it,” she said.
She said they were yet to receive a cent from the department and no proper explanation for the delay had been given to them.
“We were told that the schools would be the one making payments to us once they received it from the department. We contact the principals, and we are told that they also haven’t received anything.
“This is wrong because we also had things we wanted to do with the money. We are left in the dark. We don’t know when we will get it,” she said.
The DA called on Treasury and the Department of Basic Education to provide clarity on the matter.
One of the party’s spokespersons on Basic Education, Desiree Van der Walt, said that the assistants were being sent from pillar to post, and they haven’t received any form of feedback as to what or where their earnings were.
“These assistants have worked with the hope of finally receiving a stipend in order to support themselves. Now they are left in a desperate situation without their promised remuneration.
“This is highly unfair because these were unemployed people who looked forward to an opportunity of employment and having the dignity of an income through a job. They are left completely in the dark as to where their money is, with no answers to them or the families they support,” said Van der Walt
KZN Department of Education spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said the department had yet to receive the funds from the national department to pay the teaching assistants.
However, he said that there were discussions that were currently taking place to try to deal with the situation.
“With regard to when they will receive their payment, we don’t want to pre-empt. We are working on it, and we are working around the clock to ensure that they do receive their salaries. There are processes that are under way to manage the situation, and it is at the top of our priority list,” said Mthethwa.