Yet another provincial education department has been hauled over the coals regarding unlawful appointments. The High Court in Pietermaritzburg has ordered the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department to follow the correct appointment procedures as determined by the Schools’ Act, the Employment of Educators Act as well as the Personnel Administrative Measures. The Department was also directed to pay the cost of the application.

A number of schools in the province were impacted by an unlawful decision of this Department to place excess educators at schools without any input from the governing bodies of these schools.

“Member schools of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools brought the matter to our attention,” says Dr Jaco Deacon, Deputy CEO of FEDSAS. The organisation first approached the Education Department to discuss the matter, however the Department did not reply to any of FEDSAS’ communication. “In the end we had to advise our members to take the matter to court to put an end this abuse of power,” says Deacon.

Deacon says legislation stipulates that every vacant post has to be advertised, that a proper interview process has to be followed and that the school’s governing body must make a recommendation to the Head of Education. “The school governing body has to act in the best interests of the school and the appointment has to address the school’s specific needs. Simply placing teachers at schools goes against all guidelines and legislation.”

FEDSAS will monitor the situation to ensure that the Head of Education sets aside the unlawful appointments. “Previous court orders in this regard in other provinces have made it clear that unlawful actions will not be tolerated.”

The National Department of Basic Education is already aware of the court order in KwaZulu-Natal. “We are confident that the Minister will act in instances were education officials simply do as they please.” FEDSAS will also continue to protect the interests of its members.