paid for doing zilch

Sne Masuku

A KwaZulu-Natal principal without a school has been earning a salary for the past eight years.

All he has had to do for the past five years was report at the district circuit office.

Out of frustration he found himself a job three years ago at a school in the area where he still earns a principal's salary.

He is not the only teacher or principal in the Osizweni district in Newcastle who is displaced.

Sowetan is aware of three other teachers who wake up every morning to go and idle the day away at circuit offices, waiting for jobs.

The principal was kicked out of his school in 2000 after teachers and the school governing body accused him of practising witchcraft.

The department of education apparently launched an investigation into the matter but no one knows the outcome of the probe.

The department reportedly promised to place the principal at another school, but five years later this had not happened.

That was when he decided to take a job as a teacher at the Malambule High School, where he has been working for the past three years.

Another principal from Ubuhlebomzinyathi High School was kicked out of her school four years ago after teachers accused her of practising witchcraft.

She is waiting to be placed, but still receives her monthly salary like any other principal.

The National Teachers Union (Natu) said they were aware of the cases of the two principals, and have, on several occasions, urged the Department of Education to place them at schools, to no avail.

Allen Thompson said Natu has a long list of teachers and principals who are sitting at home without schools but are getting paid.

"A lot of taxpayers' money is wasted on teachers who are sitting at home without schools while the department only promises to investigate," Thompson said.

"Most of the displaced teachers were forced to leave their schools because they feared for their safety owing to conflicts.

"All of these teachers told us they were willing to work and want to be placed at schools, but the department denied them their right to work."

Because of to the number of teachers and principals who are displaced the union is planning to embark on industrial action when schools reopen at the beginning of the third term.

The union said it would escort the displaced teachers and put them back at their schools and those who were intimidated and wished to be placed at other school would be placed there.

"We are not going to continue waiting for the department," Thompson said.

"It is about time we took action to help the displaced teachers."

The Department of Education was not available for comment yesterday.