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While other departments are busy filling vacant posts to meet the August deadline set by cabinet in Mpumalanga, the education department has issued a moratorium effectively preventing the filling of vacant posts.
Sowetan is in possession of a letter from departmental head Ray Tywakadi, addressed to all circuits and telling them not to hire.
According to the circular a projected over-expenditure on personnel is the reason for the moratorium.
Insiders in the department claim a school that caters for mentally and physically disabled children, where one child is the equivalent of four non-disabled children, has to survive with only seven matrons while it needs 10.
"This moratorium prevents the school from filling three crucial vacancies at this special school, leaving the most vulnerable children in the province insufficiently catered for," an insider said.
The DA in the province believes that this decision will severely impact on the ability of schools to deliver quality education in the province.
"Once again the children of Mpumalanga have been made the victims of the education department's inability to plan effectively," said DA leader Anthony Benadie.
"We fail to understand how finances cannot be available to fill vacancies, a mere four months into the financial year," he said.
He said schools in the province were unable to fill vacancies in clerical, administrative, groundsmen, cleaners or any other support staff posts, seriously hampering the schools' ability to administer the education system effectively.
"In one school the principal himself had to mow the lawn in the school yard due to the shortage of staff," said Benadie.