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2 OFFICERS ACCUSED OF CREATING TEACHERS’ POSTS ILLEGALLY

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MBABANE – Revealed!  While government has been doing all it can to freeze the hiring of more civil servants, it has emerged that two officers from the MSD Department have been allegedly creating posts illegally, in particular for teachers. 

This has resulted in the number of civil servants, in particular teachers, ballooning. 

MSD is an acronym for the Management Services Division, which is under the Ministry of Public Service. 

The current mandate of the MSD, according to the Eswatini Government, is to assist in finding solutions to problems encountered by principal secretaries of ministries and heads of department in terms of productivity, lack of motivation, organisation, staffing numbers, quality of staff, job grading, and systems and procedures. In carrying out this mandate, MSD is to be guided by the government’s policy of having a right-sized and efficient public service or what used to be called a ‘leaner and more efficient civil service’. 

revealed

However, during a sitting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last week, it was revealed that the two senior civil servants who are management analysts, in Futhi Gina and Vusi Matsenjwa, were allegedly able to manipulate the system to allow teachers to share the same post numbers. 

As a result, the PAC has recommended that the matter be reported to both the police and the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) as it was clear that some people were manipulating the system to add more posts and hire people. 

The PAC was informed by a representative of the Ministry of Public Service, Tenele Mamba, that this only happened with posts recommended by the Teaching Service Commission (TSC), through its secretariat and no other department in government. As a result of this anomaly, the budget for the teachers’ costs has incurred an over-expenditure of E324 154 482.64 under Primary Education for the 2018/2019 fiscal year. 

correspond

For the financial year 2019/2020, the Secondary Education overspent by E77 416 227 and as a result the budget appears not to correspond with the actual number of teachers on the ground. 

Chairperson of the PAC MP Phila Buthelezi wanted to know how the teachers were given posts which had not been allocated. Mamba told the PAC that for some reason, the TSC secretariat was able to request more posts than those available, but somehow at MSD they were then able to avail the posts. 

Gina at first informed the PAC that she was only responsible for adding more teachers; - only those who were being hired on a temporary basis. 

However, the PAC wanted to know what then happened to the post of the incumbent teacher.  They wanted to know who the person responsible for removing the incumbent (I code) was. 

detect

A representative from the Government Computer Services Department, Patience Mtsetfwa, said the system was not able to detect that there were more people posted into the same position and said it was fed by people. Member of the PAC Mangcongco MP Oneboy Zikalala said it was clear that some people were able to manipulate the system so that it could put more people into one post. The Computer Services Department said it was only now working on a system which would reject any additional people in a post already occupied by someone. 

Meanwhile, Mamba said they had actually approached the TSC secretariat, asking them to show them the files of the teachers who were employed. 

She said, however, they hit a snag and it was discovered that in 2016, when a teacher was for example transferred to another school, they would use the same post. 

remove

She said of all the government departments, it was the TSC secretariat which bypassed the proper posting system as someone was able to remove the ‘I’ and make the post look vacant. 

“This only happens at TSC, because other ministries submit the names of the people who are hired,” she said. 

Mamba further stated that it was not the human resources officers who were able to remove the incumbents. 

MP Buthelezi asked Gina why they were removing the ‘I’ code, to which she at first said she was not responsible for that as she only worked on temporary appointments. Meanwhile, PAC member Manzini Region MP Busisiwe Mavimbela said it was clear that there was corruption within the MSD Department, because there were people who were able to add or delete posts from the system. MP Zikalala further asked Gina who had given them the power to remove names from fully occupied posts and make them seem vacant. 

Gina said they did not delete permanent positions but instead filled in the temporary posts. 

She said for example, if someone went on maternity leave they would temporarily put the post of the replacement teacher, who would then work on a temporary basis. 

alone

However, after having been questioned by the PAC, Gina said she did not do this alone, but worked with Matsenjwa who was, however, not in Parliament at that time. MP Buthelezi highlighted that they had all the time in the world to wait for Matsenjwa and said Gina must call him from the office. 

After about 10 minutes Gina returned to the House of Assembly and informed the PAC that she could not find her colleague as he was reported to be away from work and that his cellphone was being answered by children at home. 

However, the PAC was adamant that Matsenjwa needed to state his side of the story and said if the police needed to be roped in to find him, then they should. 

Matsenjwa eventually showed up after an hour and the PAC asked both Gina and Matsenjwa not to sit next to each other as they would try and exchange notes. When he finally made his submission, Matsenjwa said the role of the MSD was to create posts according to the needs of each and every ministry. 

He said these could be both permanent or on a contract basis. 

He said what happened with the teachers was that there were those hired under B1 and B2, who were previously school leavers. He said diploma holders were under C1, C2 and C3 and were permanent. He added that those classed under C3 and C4 were degree holders with the latter possessing post-graduate certificates. Matsenjwa informed the PAC that they were able to put many temporary teachers into the C3 grades as they earned a much lower salary than the money provided for in the post. 

permanent

He said that was why there were seemingly many individuals under one permanent vacancy. 

However, the PAC insisted that the two were able to create the playing ground and put people into the payroll without the approval of the Public Service Ministry.  The PAC said the two officers could explain their case before the police. 

The Committee further submitted that the principal secretaries in the ministries of Education, Public Service and the TSC secretariat, needed to meet as soon as possible to correct this anomaly in the wage bill. 

This was after the AG had also discovered that 236 were employed by the TSC without authority from August 1, 2018 to March 21, 2019, which caused a personnel expenditure of E31 848 994. 

The police are also expected to find out how some of the teachers ended up sharing the same post numbers.

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