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KZN teaching assistants weren't paid in December and there's confusion as to why

Last year, more than 300,000 assistants were recruited nationally to start work from December to March this year as part of government's R7 billion project.

FILE: A primary school fitted with temporary COVID-19 screens. Picture: Supplied.

DURBAN - Teaching assistants in Kwazulu-Natal did not receive their December salaries and there appears to be confusion about why it was not resolved yet.

Last year, more than 300,000 assistants were recruited nationally to start work from December to March this year as part of government's R7 billion project, rolled out at the end of 2020. Of those, 76,000 were assigned to KZN, which has the largest education system in the country with over 6,200 schools.

The payment delay left many of assistants disillusioned and confused.

READ: We are going to create 300,000 opportunities for young people to be engaged as education and school assistants - Ramaphosa to Parliament

According to Basic Education Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga on Tuesday, funds were made available by Treasury to all nine provinces. But Kwazulu-Natal Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu told Eyewitness News that they haven’t received a cent.

“We were supposed to pay them [teaching assistants] in December but we couldn’t because national Treasury has not yet transferred the funds to our account, and as a provincial department, we don’t have money.”

Mshengu suggested the delay could be attributed to those in charge going on leave in December, but promised that the outstanding salaries would be settled soon.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t pay them in December – but they will definitely be paid this month,” he said.

But the DA’s Imraan Keeka criticised the provincial department, saying the delays showed poor planning on the government’s part.

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