Mpumalanga teacher assistants struggling to put food on the table after not being paid for 3 months

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Mpumalanga teacher assistants struggling to put food on the table after not being paid for 3 months
Mpumalanga teacher assistants struggling to put food on the table after not being paid for 3 months

Africa-Press – South-Africa. Teaching assistants in Mpumalanga say they are struggling to put food on the table and care for their families after not receiving their stipends for the past three months.

They told News24 they signed their new contracts on 1 April 2022. The contracts are expected to expire on 31 August 2022.

The teaching assistants were promised R4 081 per month but had not received a cent from the provincial education department.

“It’s been three months without getting paid. We are on the fourth month now, and if we keep quiet, we won’t get paid again,” an assistant teacher from Springbok Colliery Primary School said.

“This has affected my life because I’m supposed to take care of my family with this money. It’s very difficult to manage without it. Every time we ask, there are no answers.

“I’m struggling to put food on the table while providing for my family. They need to eat and have lights on, and I can’t even buy them winter clothes since it’s so cold now.

“I need to have a lunch box for when I’m heading to work because we can’t eat at the feeding scheme, so you got to have food on a daily basis,” the teacher said.

Teachers getting paid in brown envelopes

Joyce Masilela, who works at the same primary school, told News24 she struggled to buy toiletries, pay rent, and was in arrears at her daughter’s crèche.

“It’s hard not being able to take care of your family, and I can’t pay school fees for my daughter at crèche; the teachers are already starting to complain about me not paying school fees. They told me it’s better to keep her home since I can’t pay school fees for her,” Masilela said.

An assistant teacher from Magaduzela Primary School, who asked not to be named, said before the schools closed, the principal informed them they did not receive money from the department to pay their stipends.

“This really affected me because when I started, I just became a mother and had to take my child to daycare so that I could work. At the end of March, a certain amount was deducted from our payments saying its Sassa money that we received, and we could not make ends meet since our salary was not the same.

She added:

Pearl Dibakwane said she depended on the money to care for her family and children.

“We haven’t received anything from the department yet, and they also don’t update us. I depend on that money to help out at home, and since then, things have not been good.

“You know when you are working, you expect something month-end, but I can’t even buy myself toiletries, and I can’t expect that of my parents.

“I have accounts to pay, and I have kids that depend on me, so I don’t know what I’ll do if the school reopens and I have not been paid,” Dibakwane added.

Education department spokesperson Jasper Zwane said the department had transferred the money to all schools last week, and schools were directed to effect payment urgently.

“This is payments for April, May, and June. The information at our disposal is that almost all education assistants were paid on Thursday and Friday last week.

“In this case, it might be prudent to get the name of the affected school/s for the department to make the necessary follow-up.”

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