5 December 2021
SADTU Limpopo Province has learnt with great shock and dismay about the unilateral decision by the Head of the Department of Education in Limpopo to unilaterally terminate the rural incentive as contained in circular number 176 of 2021. This unilateral action by the Head of the Department is provocation of the highest order to the union and her members and will be met with a concomitant action from the side of the union.
The rural incentive was introduced by the then Minister of Basic and Higher Education Ms Naledi Pandor through Government Gazette 30678. The aim of the incentive was to attract and retain educators in remote schools and hard to teach schools. From the inception of the benefit SADTU warned the department of education that the criteria to disburse the allowance was fundamentally flawed and was likely to lead to more serious challenges in future. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy that has come full circle as it has come to pass. To that end, the union has always advocated that the criteria for choosing qualifying educators must be reviewed so that the incentive could be reworked in such a way that more educators can benefit instead of the 10% of the total workforce as per the policy.
It must be put on record that the department has always been clamouring towards terminating the incentive, a move that was rebutted by the union on several occasions. Currently, the issue was escalated to the Minister of Basic Education Ms Angie Motshega as it falls within her purview. It is therefore legally untenable for the HOD of Education in Limpopo Province to arrogate to herself powers that she does not have under the law to terminate a policy of general application which is a transversal matter. The reasons for termination cited in the departmental circular are also quite disturbing to say the least. It must be noted that some of the educators received the incentive as a result of court orders issued by the various courts in the Province and the HOD’s actions can be described as a contempt of court for she cannot use self-help to extricate herself out of the obligations of the law. This misguided action will lead to a flurry of litigations against the department.
Our attempts to reach out at the Office of the HOD were met with a cold shoulder as she is adamant that she will not renege on her decision. As a result of this, the union is prepared to exercise her rights under the law by approaching a competent forum/s to adjudicate on the matter. We do not rule out embarking upon an indefinite strike come January next year once all avenues have been exhausted. In the meantime SADTU members in the Province are urged to remain combat-ready for a clarion call to war in order to vindicate our rights.
As compiled by the Secretariat
Tjebane Sowell Provincial Secretary 082 808 3161
Nevari Mulalo Deputy Provincial Secretary 082 804 0800