Council to investigate teachers over grants

Teachers who are fraudulently receiving government grants and benefitting from RDP housing will be fired.

The warning was issued by the South African Council for Educators.

The council's warning follows reports that some teachers are fraudulently receiving government grants and illegally acquiring RDP houses.

It warned that those receiving government grants would not only lose their jobs but would also be prosecuted once caught.

Rej Brijraj, of the council, said though it was not their core business to probe government grants fraud, reports of teachers fraudulently receiving grants had come to their attention.

He said as a body that monitors the professional conduct of teachers, they were bound to investigate such reports, even though only few cases had so far been reported.

"We urge teachers not abuse and take advantage of the system, because if they do, they will be charged and even lose their jobs," Brijraj said.

He said with the financial difficulties and economic decline, some teachers were tempted to take advantage of the system to have quick cash.

But the National Teachers Union's Allen Thompson lashed out at the council, saying it had made no effort to educate teachers about the code of conduct relating to social welfare processes.

He gave as an example a teacher who was recently made to repay R22000 because her son had been receiving a disability grant.

He said the department of education had also charged the teacher for bringing the department into disrepute.

Thompson said they were in a position to defend their members accused of defrauding the state by receiving government grants for their disabled children or for acquiring RDP houses.

"Our argument has always been the lack of education by the council on the code of conduct.

"In most cases, there are teachers who receive the grants not knowing that it is against the law.

"The cost of housing is very high and teachers are unable to buy decent homes. Instead they are lured into buying the RDP houses fraudulently because they do not have a choice," Thompson said.