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NC dept says sorry over pay for screeners

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Screeners accuse Northern Cape Department of Education of failing them

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THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Education has apologised for the delay in finalising the R2 500 monthly stipends for the 1 976 screeners appointed to work at schools in the Province.

Department spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said on Monday that the department was experiencing a delay in the payments due to incomplete documents and tax registrations. 

He indicated that the stipends would be paid via the Persal payroll system and therefore had to be tax compliant. 

“The closure of the provincial office and Frances Baard District Office further contributed to the delay in the payments,” explained Van der Merwe.

He was commenting after screeners had accused the department of failing them.

The screeners complained that there was a lack of communication and commitment by the department towards their well-being and safety. 

They stated that they had only been allocated one mask each when they started to work on June 1. According to the screeners, the department failed to provide them with sufficient gloves.

They added that according to the national advertisement to which they had responded, their stipends should have been between R3 500 and R4 500.

“We were given forms to fill in, which did not specify how much we would earn,” they said. 

“We were later informed that the stipend was R2 500, and we were told we could take it or leave it,” one of the screeners said.

“We took this job because we wanted to earn a living. But the arrogance displayed when we questioned why the stipend was less than the advertised amount is disheartening. We are expected to just suck it up and accept what is given to us.

“Positive cases are reported at schools and we have to question whether it is worth our while to die for a stipend that we haven’t received, despite all the sacrifices we have made,” he added.

The department indicated the screeners were appointed on an EPWP and ETDP SETA contract for six months. 

Van der Merwe dismissed claims regarding a lack of personal protective equipment (PPEs) and said that all screeners were provided with PPEs, which were also provided to schools, as they are required to perform their duties at the entrances of all schools and offices. 

“We do understand that we are in very difficult times and therefore their payments will not be prolonged unnecessarily,” concluded Van der Merwe.