Magope Maphila (foreground), deputy president of the SA Democratic Teachers' Union attends their national general council at a Kempton Park hotel in eastern Johannesburg on Friday, 25 October 2013. The decision to suspend Sadtu president Thobile Ntola was not made lightly, Maphila said on Friday. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

The alliance between Sadtu and the ANC has allowed a culture of corruption to take root in our schools, says Dr Tutu Faleni.

Pretoria - The media should be commended for bringing to the attention of the public a promotion for cash racket run by some Sadtu members. Some of us who have been in education have known for a long time that this was happening.

The fact that teachers who have to be carriers of moral authority for our society are in a situation where they have to pay for promotion is reflective of the general corruption that is eroding the moral fabric of our country.

A key question in this Sadtu “promotions for cash scheme” is: Why is this shockingly corrupt activity happening in our education? The blame should be put right at the doorstep of the ANC-run government.

The government has to utilise resources to root out this corruption in schools, and these resources could have been put to better use elsewhere in the public education sector. It looks like the chickens have come home to roost. Even though surprising, the corruption that is reported to be taking place at our schools is endemic of the corruption at all levels of our government.

The ANC’s policy of cadre redeployment, whereby in some cases incompetent people perceived to be loyal to the ANC are appointed to senior government posts, has created an atmosphere conducive to bribery. According to this policy, perceived loyalty to the political party should override qualifications, experience and skills when it comes to appointments in public service departments. This policy has created a situation where some state departments are managed by incompetent and inexperienced cadres. Some Sadtu members took advantage of this ANC-created political culture and started the promotions for money scheme.

It is public knowledge that some unqualified individuals were among the first crop of district directors appointed in the Gauteng Department of Education. A trend had been set which eventually created a culture that has allowed corruption in the public education sector to prevail. The alliance between Sadtu and the ANC has allowed a culture of corruption to take root in our schools.

The seriousness of the allegations of a jobs for cash scandal is reflected by the dramatic turn of events. We are made to understand that the minister of basic education asked for an audience with President Jacob Zuma. After considering the facts at hand, the president took a decision to institute a commission of inquiry into the allegations of Sadtu’s promotional posts for cash scandal. This is an unprecedented move.

Given the nature of the allegations and the possibility that some influential individuals might have committed criminal offences, the president should have called for a judicial commission of inquiry. The South African public is not so much interested in knowing the truth about how the Sadtu jobs for cash scheme works, but it is in the interest of justice that those who have broken the laws of the land must be brought to book.

It is crucial that the scope of the terms of reference should be broad enough to empower the government to uproot the culture of corruption in our public school system.

* The DA’s Dr Tutu Faleni is an MPL in North West.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

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