By Nqobile Tshili
SOME Zimbabwean teachers based in South Africa have gone for nine months without being paid with the neighbouring country’s education sector blaming its Home Affairs Department for delays in processing work permits.
The teachers are among the more than 169 000 Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP) beneficiaries which are still being processed.
According to South African media reports quoting Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Ms Bronagh Hammond, the local government blamed the ZEP processes for delays in paying the teachers their salaries.
“Our problem, however, is that Home Affairs takes their time to verify these (ZEP) work permits. We follow up on numerous occasions,” said Ms Hammond.
“Home Affairs has confirmed that they are inundated with permit verification. Even if the work permit is bar-coded it still needs to be verified. The WCED does sympathise. It is unfair to those educators with valid permits to wait so long. The WCED, however, has to abide by the law.”
Union of Zimbabwean Educators Western Cape chairperson Mr Jack Mutsvairo said his union, which was established in 2016 with more than 50 members, was handling some of the cases.
“Some of the Zimbabwean teachers come to us claiming they haven’t been paid for between three to nine months,” Mr Mutsvairo, told the South African media.