Decision to lay off hundreds of employees shocking – SADTU KZN

Union says a total of 136 lecturers and 36 support staff have lost their jobs at TVET colleges due to enrolment figures of students

Media Statement on the TVET looming crisis

16 January 2017

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) in KZN is shocked by the decisions from Technical, Vocational Education and Training Colleges (TVET) in KZN to lay off hundreds of employees as the year begins.  Whereas the country is facing rocketing unemployment crisis hitting the 13 year high of 27.1% as of November 2016 these Colleges are unresponsively planning to retrench additional employees.

A total of 136 lecturers and 36 support staff’s future hangs in the balance as these Colleges have served them with letters of termination of their services owing from enrolment figures of students they not registered in 2017.  Although it’s common knowledge that the number of employees in their staff establishment is informed by the number registered students it remains unacceptable that one of these Colleges, Coastal College, surpassed all by shamelessly putting 102 employees out in the cold. 

We remain disturbed by these figures and we have all reasons to be suspicious as the Coastal College in under investigation for alleged mismanagement of finances. It cannot cut enrolment figures from 14 000 down to 9 000 while ironically the Department has made available funding through NSFAS to the tune of R14 billion part of which is earmarked for 200 000 TVET college students. Furthermore the Department of Higher Education and Training had reminded TVET Principals that their 2016/17 funding will be maintained with CPIX adjustment for 2017/2018 financial year.  This then doesn’t warrant any loss of jobs save in substitute posts where incumbents have returned.

This does not only represent a retreat to a commitment on war against skills shortage but it further militate against government endevoures to create jobs intended to stimulate necessary economic development in the country.  The management in these colleges should desist from irrationally cutting enrolment figures under the pretext of underfunding from the Department of Higher Education and Training.  The same Department had directed all these Colleges to maintain 2016 enrolment so that its long term goals of skills provision are attained. If this ill fated decision is finally implemented the universities already in crisis may be confronted with a need to absorb the students rejected by the TVET Colleges. SADTU shall defend the jobs of her members and to that end will call a special meeting with all affected workers for preparation of confrontation with the employers in this sector. 

- SADTU demands that the Colleges first desist from closing the doors of learning for our children.

- SADTU demands that planned retrenchments be put on hold until discussions on the issues with SADTU are dealt with extensively.

- SADTU demands that the provisions of Department of Higher Education and Training, Circular TC-Z dated 13 October 2016 be complied with in its letter and spirit.

- SADTU demands that the Minister of Higher Education and Training intervenes to stop this bloodbath against the vulnerable workers.

Issued by Nomarashiya Caluza, Provincial Secretary, SADTU KZN, 16 January 2017