GDE accused of not paying youth brigades helping enforce Covid-19 rules in schools
Johannesburg - The Gauteng Education Department is reportedly facing an “uphill battle” with payment distributions to recently appointed youth brigades.
This is contained in an email sent to the brigades who are yet to receive their stipends for the month of October.
The project, which commenced on June 1, has 10 000 youth members in the province appointed as brigades and dispatched to different schools to assist the department in enforcing Covid-19 protocols and regulations.
However, since the start of the project things have not been smooth sailing with regards to payments.
In July, the Education Department pleaded for patience when it revealed that it had failed to make payments to some of its contractors due to the spread of the coronavirus.
The Gauteng City Region Academy (GCRA), which is a branch of the province’s Education Department responsible for promoting skills development, has now conceded that the payment system in place was not designed to deal with a high number of appointees.
“The reason why the initial payment decision was taken to utilise the SAP/BAS payment system was that it is a one-step process.
“The disadvantage is, however, that payments do not take place automatically but a list of the employees to be paid must be processed monthly.”
According to the GCRA, a decision had been taken that Persal, the personnel and salaries management system used by national and provincial government in South Africa, would be utilised for payment of stipends of applicants who were appointed from last month.
“The information from the previous system could not automatically migrate to Persal.
“Each case needed to be verified and additional information captured.”
The GCRA also stated that the initial disadvantage of the system was that every case would need to go through a two-step process, which would require the first appointment to be done on the system.
This would then enable them to implement payments after the appointee reflected on the system.
“The advantages, however, outweigh the disadvantages, as once the appointment is on Persal and the first payment has taken place, the stipend would automatically be paid to the bank account monthly until the end of the contract or termination.”
The GCRA added that a special task team was currently attending to the migration which would also result in a change of payment dates.
The first payments under the new system was said to have taken place on November 19.
The next batch of payments was scheduled for today (Monday).
The GCRA has assured brigades that as from the end of this month, everyone would receive their stipends on time, until the end of the contract period.
Education spokesperson Steve Mabona said that with the change of payment methods, they do not foresee any delays in future payments.
Mabona added that the incoming youth for the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative would be paid by schools directly.
The project will commence next month and continue until March next year.
Appointees would be expected to provide assistance at allocated schools across the province.