EXCLUSIVE: 'R30 000 for a teacher post... or sex' - new scandal rocks KZN Education Department

An exclusive IOL investigation has uncovered alarming allegations of bribery and sexual exploitation in the hiring of teachers in KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Independent Newspapers.

An exclusive IOL investigation has uncovered alarming allegations of bribery and sexual exploitation in the hiring of teachers in KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Independent Newspapers.

Published Apr 28, 2024


An exclusive IOL investigation has revealed allegations of bribery and sexual favours in exchange for teaching positions in KwaZulu-Natal. Recordings obtained by IOL appear to confirm these claims.

In one recording, an official, allegedly from a school governing body in northern KwaZulu-Natal, is heard demanding 30,000 rand in two instalments from a graduate teacher seeking employment.

When the teacher stated she could not afford the amount, the official responded, "You won't get the job—many others with more experience are waiting in line and can pay. This is how it works if you want the job."

The teacher declined the offer and remains unemployed, having not reported the incident due to fears for her safety.

Several other unemployed teachers have reported similar experiences, with some alleging sexual harassment by principals in return for job promises.

One unemployed teacher told IOL, "I'm a 32-year-old mother living off my mother's pension. I struggled through university hoping to escape poverty. My mother should not have to support me and my children when I am qualified to teach, especially when schools have student-to-teacher ratios of 70 to 1. To secure a job, one must either pay a bribe or offer sexual favours. It's depressing and hopeless."

KwaZulu-Natal currently has over 25,000 unemployed teachers, while the province reports 7,000 teacher vacancies—the highest in South Africa, according to recent statistics from Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education received a 63 billion rand budget allocation this year, the largest in the region, drawing criticism from opposition parties dismayed by the state of education in the province.

"The Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal has looted the coffers. It's a mess. We are not surprised by allegations of bribery and corruption. We are aware of young female teacher graduates being exploited in their desperation for jobs. It's an absolute tragedy that those in authority, including teacher unions, remain silent on this matter," stated Imraan Keeka, the DA's chief whip and party spokesperson for education in the province.

However, the department has denied the allegations, urging those with complaints to report them.

"We are unaware of any allegations of sex for jobs or bribery. If there are claims, they should be reported to the relevant law enforcement agencies or nearest police stations. We have a job crisis in the country, affecting not only teachers but also journalists, nurses, scientists, and many others. This issue is not unique to education," Muzi Mahlambi, a department spokesperson, commented.

Nevertheless, teachers tell a different story.

"We've been trying for months to raise our concerns with the Department of Education, but they continue to ignore us," said Ndumiso Mngwengwe, spokesperson for the KZN United Unemployed Educators group.

"Instead, we are told not to protest because the department is addressing our concerns. We believe it's all a smokescreen and just a way to silence us because of the elections. Since 2003, we have been trying to engage even with the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), and it's only now that they are wanting space to address our concerns. Why now? We feel this is just a political strategy by the ANC to silence us because of the elections. But we refuse to be silent any longer," Mngwengwe explained.

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