Sadtu calls for probe into non-payment of grade R practitioners

The KwaZulu-Natal department of education has assured all grade R practitioners who were not paid their stipend on April 30 that they will receive it on May 15.

This comes after the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) has called for an investigation into the non-payment 

Some early childhood development (ECD) practitioners were left frustrated after they were not paid the R8 861 stipend at the end of April as expected.

KwaZulu-Natal education department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said the department acknowledged that some ECD practitioners were not paid, but said those who were not paid were not in the majority.

Incomplete documents

“The department admits and acknowledges that some were not paid; however, there are very few practitioners who were not paid their stipends,” he said.

Mahlambi said the ECD practitioners that were not paid did not submit complete documents.

“The KwaZulu-Natal department of education wishes to clarify the matter regarding the contracts and payments of ECD practitioners.

“The department appoints ECD practitioners on an annual basis. This is a practice undertaken nationally.

“As a result, the contracts of these practitioners are renewed at the beginning of each financial year in April.”

He said for the 2024–2025 year, the appointment and renewal of ECD practitioners were processed accordingly, and payment was due on April 30.

Outstanding payments

“Unfortunately, there were some outstanding payments at the time of processing due to incomplete documentation submitted,” he said.

Sadtu said the delays in payments were unacceptable.

Sadtu’s KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary, Nomarashiya Caluza, said the union has called on the department to investigate the non-payment of stipends.

“Sadtu calls for an investigation to determine if there were officials who slept on duty so that they can be subjected to disciplinary processes as consequence management,” she said.

“What is even more concerning is the failure by the employer to timely inform the affected practitioners that there will be a delay in payment.

According to Mahlambi, the provincial and national treasuries regulate the department’s two runs of the Persal system, which serves as its human resources and payroll systems.

Sadtu blames the department

He said the payments of ECD practitioners who filled out all the required fields in their documents and submitted all supporting documents were processed on April 15 as part of the first Persal run and were paid on April 30.

“A few submitted documents that were incomplete. The payment will be processed on May 3 and paid on May 15,” he said, adding that this will be the second Persal run.

Caluza dismissed the claim by the education department that it was early childhood development practitioners who did not submit documents or submitted incomplete documents.

“Officials of the department in some districts did not submit on time [for payments to be processed],” said Caluza.

She said the union will be keeping a close eye on the matter.

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