teacher loses court bid for safety bill

Penwell Dlamini

Penwell Dlamini

An urgent application by a teacher to have the Gauteng department of education implement two pieces of labour legislation was dismissed in the Johannesburg labour court yesterday.

Dirk Cornelius Senekal, 39, of Tshwane, brought an urgent application to have the department implement the Occupational Health and Safety and Employment Equity acts at schools within 30 days.

Judge Francis Bassonruled that Senekal's application was not urgent and told him to follow normal procedures through the labour court. Senekal was not pleased with the decision.

"I think the judge erred because health and safety is a matter of life and death in our schools," Senekal said.

Friction between Senekal and the department began in 2005 when he was allegedly not paid out medical aid, was placed on the wrong salary scale, did not get extra money for an extra qualification he has and was not shortlisted for a position he had applied for as a disabled person.

Senekal is hard of hearing and alleges that the department has no disabled person from the position of director upwards.

"I wanted them to take occupational health and safety seriously and to appoint people and have regular meetings," Senekal said.

He said he had reported the matter to the education department's district office and was told it would be sorted out but nothing happened.

"In November I(2005) refused to go to work until they met my demands," he said.

He did not go to work during 2006 and 2007 but was still paid. In January this year he was fired because of absenteeism.

Senekal is national exam moderator for ancillary health, which is written by Adult Based Education and Training (Abet) pupils.

At the time he was fired he was working for the Yeoville Community School, teaching natural sciences and Afrikaans.