6 October 2017

South Africa: Teacher Says She Was Fired for Going Blind

A 52-year-old teacher who lost her sight says the principal of the school fired her and the KwaZulu-Natal department of education has done nothing about it.

According to a GroundUp report, she said she was booted out without going through the proper procedures.

Zodwa Mtswane from Shakaville, Stanger, claims she was fired from Gezwayo Secondary School in Mapumulo after she became blind due to diabetes. This was in 2006.

The principal has since left and GroundUp was unable to reach him.

Mtswane is now living with her mother in a low-cost house where she sleeps on the sofa or on the floor. She receives a social grant, but it doesn't cover her expenses and costs of medication. She has three children.

"The department has been unfair in my case just because I turned blind. I only did one check-up with the department's doctor and they fired me in a period of nine months after one check-up," she said.

"I submitted my leave form on the first check-up as required by the department. Despite all of those submissions I was fired before time.

"I feel that my rights were infringed and that they treated me in that manner because I turned blind. I was not given enough chance to be checked thoroughly," she said.

No help from officials

Mtswane said she reskilled herself with switchboard and telephone courses hoping the department could use her somewhere else.

"I have become a burden to my family... The house that I had bought was repossessed after failing to pay. I don't have any benefits except for my pension fund that I received after being booted out. I sometimes go to bed on an empty stomach. What does this say about people living with disability in the department of education?" said Mtswane.

She said she had been in touch with two officials and had also gone to the Pietermaritzburg offices with her child. She was given phone numbers.

She made repeated calls but officials were never available to help her. She eventually gave up.

She said she also contacted the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in Durban but they had not helped her either.

Sadtu provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza said she would drive to Mtswane's home and get the full story.

"If we discover that the teacher was forced [to leave] by the school or any other person, it is a serious case."

She said when someone developed a disability: "The union and the department works together in ensuring that the teacher remains employed."

Spokesperson for the KZN education department Muzi Mahlambi said there was little the department could do.

"At the moment there is nothing as proof and what we want is proof... There should be something that went wrong between her and the school. It could be she did not submit what was expected from her or there is foul play from the school," he said.


South Africa

'Frustrating' Wait for Parents as School Sexual Predator Case is Delayed

Parents of the victims of the former Parktown Boys High School assistant water polo coach have described the wait for… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2017 News24Wire. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.