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Sadtu, minister to meet over PPE claims

Teacher union Sadtu wants to raise several complaints of corruption with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. File picture: ANA / Jacques Naude

THE SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga are set to meet over allegations of fraud and corruption in the acquisition of personal protective equipment (PPEs) and the safety of teachers and pupils at schools.

Sadtu this week intends raising several complaints of corruption following accusations levelled by its members that tenders to provide PPEs at schools were given to certain companies and individuals without any procurement procedures.

Sadtu deputy general secretary Nkosana Dolopi said it remained the union’s view that the lives of teachers, education support personnel, pupils and indeed community members at large mattered.

Dolopi said Sadtu was calling on its members and pupils to continue to observe all the necessary precautionary measures as advised by health authorities.

“The union will engage the department to finalise all the issues affecting the substitution of teachers and education personnel, including the provision of quality PPEs from the week of July 27. Any intransigence by the department which is informed by the prerogative instead of genuine consultations will be brutally challenged. 

“The unions are not spectators in the education system and cannot be treated like any other stakeholder. They are required by law to be consulted,” Dolopi said.

“We are aware that during this phase, those who seek to maximise their profits through their measured and brutal exploitation of the government’s imperative to acquire the necessary materials for pupils and teachers, like the PPE packages, will not be resting. We are calling on all our structures to unapologetically disrupt the plans of these ‘disaster capitalists’ who see our collective suffering, as a nation, as an opportunity to accumulate wealth by exposing and reporting them to the authorities,” Dolopi said.

He added that Sadtu welcomed the attempts by President Cyril Ramaphosa to ensure that looters were brought to book through the presidential proclamation authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate corruption allegations against any state body during the state of disaster and refer the matter for prosecution.

Dolopi emphasised that civil action to recover the stolen funds should be the priority of the government.

No date has been set for the parties but the government has already made a call for unemployed education graduates to apply for Covid-19 posts at various schools in the country. 

Motshekga made the job offers after more than 16 000 teachers with comorbidities applied and were granted permission to work from home.

Motshekga’s spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga had earlier said that the auditor-general had been asked to probe any irregularities in the acquisition of PPEs in schools. 

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