Corruption claims mar urgency to employ guards at high risk schools

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

The long wait for 3000 security guards at high risk public schools in KwaZulu-Natal could be further delayed amid claims that corrupt education officials are posting their preferred companies for a fee.

Education department insiders say some guards have already been deployed in certain districts though the short-listing process has not even begun.

This, it is alleged, is because certain education department officials have accepted bribes in exchange for approving applications before the department's programme is complete.

The department advertised 3000 security posts in July because of the many attacks on teachers and pupils on school premises.

A source in the recruiting team told Sowetan that the fact that the department advertised the vacancies before identifying schools that would benefit was the source of the problem.

"The districts are deploying guards though the short-listing of applicants has not even begun.

"We are not even sure if these guards that have already been deployed have applied," said the source.

But the education department brushed off allegations of corruption .

"It has not come to our attention that there is alleged corruption in the process of recruiting security guards," education superintendent Cassius Lubisi said.

"The recruiting will be centralised. So the entire process will be done and managed at head office."

He said the department had received 150000 applications.

Teacher unions have again appealed to the department to fast-track the security guard postings after a Bhobhobho primary school teacher was killed on Monday.

Unions appealed to the department to deploy guards at every school in the province.

Thembisile Mngomezulu, 44, was shot and killed during a hijacking incident not far from the school.

Despite being in a so-called crime zone, the school is ironically not on the list to benefit from the 3000 security guards to be deployed.

Learning has been disrupted since the murder. Traumatised teachers are unable to teach and many pupils are not coming to class.