R81m to be returned to 90 Eastern Cape schools

The Legal Resources Centre has won a case against the department on behalf of the schools.

FILE: School governing bodies say they have been forced to either go without enough teachers or to employ additional teaching staff at their own expense. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Eastern Cape Department of Education will have to report to the Grahamstown High Court very month until it has complied with an order to pay back over R81 million to 90 schools.

The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) has won a case against the department on behalf of the schools to recover the money and have vacant teaching posts filled.

School governing bodies say they have been forced to either go without enough teachers or to employ additional teaching staff at their own expense.

The schools have been demanding the department reimburse them for the R81 million spent to hire the extra teachers.

Schools have struggled to fill vacancies since 2011 after the department claimed there was no money to pay more teachers.

The court order has given the department 60 days to appoint a claims administrator to distribute the payment and employ permanent teachers.

The LRC's Sarah Sephton says the department will be forced to report to the High Court until the order is complied with.

The Eastern Cape Education Department has still not indicated whether it will appeal the court order.

Sephton says the order allows the schools to attach state assets if the department does not have the money to pay them.

The education department had argued that it didn't have the funds to reimburse the schools and cannot be swayed on which teachers to employ.