The Assistant Minister of Basic Education (MoBE), Naniki Makwinja has acknowledged that there are some challenges besieging some North West education workers and educators regarding late payments of wages and leave travel concession.
Maun East Member of Parliament, Goretetse Kekgonegile had this week asked the minister if she is aware about their problems, and what is being done to address them.
Kekgonegile sought clarity on the date on which temporary teachers and Maun Senior Secondary non-teaching staff are supposed to be paid, if indeed they are paid on those said dates, if not, why not and what remedial actions will be undertaken where necessary. He also asked how many officers are owed leave concessions in the district and when they will be paid and why they are owed.
In response, Makwinja noted that in general the north west region has been processing the payments of the wages for its employees on time but admitted that there have been cases of temporary teachers being paid late. She said in January, 85% of temporary staff were paid on time and 15% late.
As for February, 84% were paid on time and 16% late. This she said is because at the beginning of the year there are lot of movement hence the delays. Makwinja added that the delays are also due to non-availability of banking details or inaccurate bank details reflected in schools submissions.
“Delays also emanate from the creation of new staff in the payment system when they join the service, this is particularly apparent in the beginning of the school year and when the form fours reported in March this year,” she further added.
She further explained that government has scheduled pay days for all staff members across the public service and her ministry’s non-teaching staff are paid under group one. She said as per the schedule for group one staff pay days for which the dates vary slightly from months to months. On the other hand temporary employees she revealed are paid on the last day of each month given the terms of their employment. She highlighted that at Maun Senior Secondary School temporary teachers are paid on the last day of each month while the support staff employed by the mission are paid on the 25th of each month.
With regard to leave travel concession Makwinja revealed that for the 2021/22 financial year a budget of 1.6 million has been secured for payment of staff in North West region. She indicated that the region has received a total of 778 requests by staff for such payments of which 734 has been paid as of the 24 of March 2022. The region is currently processing the remaining 44 payments which she indicated will be effected with this April salaries.
“The remaining 44 were not paid because their payment requests came late. We are also failing to budget for the concession but rely on asking money from here and there so that we can be able to pay them but we are assisting in these matters so that we can amend them,” the assistant minister told parliament.
She noted that it is important that accurate data is shared by schools to the region in order for payments to be made on time. “The ministry will continue to mentor staff in this regard and also look at the process which we will follow with a view to critique it and possibly re-engineer it in order to ensure that dues owed to staff are paid on time.”
The minister concurred with Member of Parliament for Thamaga/Kumakwane, Palelo Motaosane that the situation is perennial and is happening all over the country and not only in the North West region. The MP highlighted that almost all the schools in Mogoditshane/Thamaga region are owed leave concessions. He called for government to consider including temporary teachers of two years contract in government payment roll system until their contract lapses so that they can be paid on time like any other teachers.