MEC’s assets set to be dragged off

THE Legal Resources Centre has asked the sheriff to attach and sell state assets used by MEC Mandla Makupula and his head of department so that dozens of teachers can be paid.

And while Makupula and HoD Mthunywa Ngonzo yesterday faced a scramble on departmental assets, the woes of their department deepened as 13 more teachers launched an urgent application against it.

LRC Grahamstown director Sarah Sephton yesterday confirmed that about 18 teachers had a writ of execution while another 13 had turned to the court for help to get their salaries paid.

In June, the LRC won a court order directing the department to pay the outstanding salaries of about 108 teachers, many of whom had worked without pay from the start of the year.

The department eventually paid most of them but about 18 are yet to receive their salaries. They are owed a total of about R619000, Sephton said.

The writ directs the sheriff to attach departmental assets – including those used by Makupula and Ngonzo. It also directs the sheriff to sell off these goods by public auction to realise the sum of R619000.

The latest application, which will be heard in the high court next week, involves 13 more desperate teachers. But, given the department’s failure to heed court directives in the past, they already anticipate that they, too, may have to resort to seizing and selling off the department’s assets.

They are asking the Grahamstown High Court to grant them an order declaring their salaries as “quantifiable debts against the state” so that all unpaid teachers can hold the department accountable. They say it is simply untenable for teachers and the LRC to continue to pursue individual relief in the face of the department’s pervasive failure to pay up.

Sephton said the 13 were among some 800 who had yet to receive pay this year.

Ngonzo has this year twice apologised to the high court for his department’s failure to heed its orders and pay up. This is the second writ to be issued against the department this month.

lLawyers for disabled East London beauty therapist Joy Duffield also moved against the department after it failed to pay her an interim R2.38-million, her award from an accident that left her paralysed from the neck down at Lilyfontein school in 2005.

Spokesperson Mali Mtima yesterday said the payment to Duffield was being processed.

He could not comment on the writ of attachment for R619000.

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