Work at last after six years of mahala pay

Ndifelani Ligege earned nearly R2m since 2014 when he was barred from his school, allegedly by the SGB./SUPPLIED
Ndifelani Ligege earned nearly R2m since 2014 when he was barred from his school, allegedly by the SGB./SUPPLIED

A Mpumalanga teacher who has raked in around R2m in salary while sitting at home is set to return to the classroom for the first time in six years.

Ndifelani Ligege, 42, was a teacher at Umlambo Combined School in Amsterdam (near eSwatini border) before a big fallout with the school's principal and the school governing body (SGB) started after he reported a case of corruption.

He claims to have uncovered that his school was paying a ghost teacher.

This led to a lengthy stand-off which saw Ligege expelled from work in December 2014 for alleged poor performance but he was reinstated in January 2015. However, he was not allowed to enter the school's premises by some of his former colleagues who were serving in the SGB.

Ligege told Sowetan that he got wind of plans to place him in another school this week.

Yesterday marked the beginning of his sixth year of earning a salary from department of education without lifting a finger.

"I can relocate to another school if I so wish, but moving to another school may have negative implications. This may mean that I admit guilt of false accusations laid by SGB who were incited by the principal to expel me," Ligege told Sowetan.

He said his main worry was that this "may create a bad precedent because when other teachers raise issues related to corruption and maladministration at school, principals will influence the SGB to expel such an educator".

Ligege, an English and life sciences teacher, was pinning his hopes on getting his job back through the Labour Court in Johannesburg but he has yet to secure a court date for his matter.

"Wherever I'm going, I'll never raise any issue that I feel it's wrong because I might be labelled as a troublemaker.

"They'll say I was expelled from my previous school and now I came to cause problem at their school," Ligege said.

"That's why I wanted us to deal with all issues at Umlambo before I consider moving."

Ligege has been getting his full monthly salary, including his annual 13th cheque, since December 2014.

Mpumalanga education spokesperson Jasper Zwane confirmed that Ligege will be back in class, in a different school, this academic year.

"We can confirm that a process to find a school for the teacher in question is at an advanced stage.

"Hopefully by Wednesday January 15 2020 it will be concluded," Zwane said.

"The department extends its appreciation to all role players for their efforts leading to this end. We also hope that there are lessons learnt from this which may be used as reference points in future."

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