Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Polling officers owed 2019 election stipends

The Ministry of Basic Education and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) have not yet paid some polling officers who were engaged in the 2019 General Election citing lack of money.

This development came after some aggrieved teachers threatened not to participate in the next general election.

The Ministry is now threatening to take action against some officers who neglected their duty by failing to execute payment of teachers who participated as returning officers and polling officers at different polling station for the 2019 General election.

Sources closer to the development says some polling officers were paid while others were not yet paid. The Ministry allegedly says there is no money to pay them. Sources said they were supposed to be paid on the 2019/2020 financial budget and suspect misuse of funds by those in authority which has now resulted in some teachers not paid.

The Telegraph is in a possession of a document from Permanent Secretary’s office, signed by Oemetse Nkoane, titled: Settlement of 2019 General Elections Overtime allowance to Ministry of Basic Education Personnel.

The documents dated 26th August 2020 acknowledge continually receiving complaints from teachers and non-teaching staff that they have not yet been paid 2019 General Election Overtime allowance.

“Could you please consult with all structures under your jurisdiction to identify all officers, who have not yet been paid the overtime allowance? You are advised to conduct this with task in collaboration with regional Independent Electoral Commission offices” read part of the letter

The letter further states that all casualty returns(T.20)for the affected officers to be submitted to the Ministry Headquarters not later than 31st August 2020 for payment settlement, and that the payment are to be accompanied by all the necessary documents like authorization of overtime and savingram justifying why the payment was not settled during 2019/2020 financial year.

“You are also to provide progress on actions taken against officers who neglected their duty during the process of this exercise,” said Nkoane.

Despite this, the IEC said is still in the process of paying teachers who were engaged in different polling stations.

IEC said it is working hand in hand with The Ministry of Basic Education to resolve the matter.

“I think the ministry and IEC is aware of this administrative lapse because it was committed by our supervisors. It’s almost 10 months now since executing our duties of conducting the national general elections which was declared free and fair and now MP’s are getting their monthly salaries every month but we been neglected, said aggrieved teachers

The aggrieved teachers have informed this publication that they suspects negligence of duty and incompetence from responsible officers at the schools and at IEC offices and gave an example where some documents were misplaced forcing teachers to make new submissions.

One of the schools that was affected by this anomaly are those from Letlhakeng/Lephepe Constituency especially in Matsheng Junior School and Sojwe Primary school.

The aggrieved teachers said some IEC officials based in Letlhakeng has on numerous occasions promised to resolve the problem of payment but for no avail and some teachers who spoke to this publication has promised never to take part in the next election.

IEC Letlhakeng Sub-District Clifford Makhinya, who is said to be the man behind the delays was at pains to explain what happened. He referred this publication to Osupile Maroba arguing that he is not authorized to talk to the media.

IEC Spokesperson Osupile Maroba confirmed that over 22 000 polling officers were deployed across the country but most of them were paid except few officers who did not submit their claims on time.

He said the officers will be paid in the 2020/2021 financial year. Maroba said all the affected personnel will be paid before the end of September 2020.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.