The Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal said it has a shortage of 3 049 Senior Management Team (SMT) members at schools in the province.
This was revealed during a Q and A in parliament where the provincial Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu was responding to questions by the Democratic Alliance (DA).
The reply refers specifically to Principals (PR), Deputy Principals (DP) and Heads of Department (HOD).
“KZN has a shortfall of 1 217 Principals, 467 Deputy Principals and 1 365 Heads of Department for 2021,” said Mshengu.
Mshengu said 156 of the vacancies are as a result of the numbers of those who dies as at February 2021.
Mshengu’s answers showed that the problem is not new.
The department had shortages of 3 165 in 2020 and 2 676 in 2019.
The information also shows that there has been very little improvement since 2020, with KZN Education only managing to employ 116 more teachers since then.
During his presentation, Mshengu said there were an additional four vacancies open since February because these educators had been fired.
In response, the DA said it is extremely concerned by this situation.
“This is completely unacceptable.
“Despite a known history of the existence of these vacancies, irrespective of the fluctuating numbers in a particular year, budgetary allocations for posts should have been a priority consideration for KZN’s Department of Education (DoE),” said the DA.
The party said Mshengu had a “begging bowl in hand” in an attempt to ask the premier to give the department more funds in order to finance these vacancies.
The DA added that the impact on learners with senior staff shortages for half of the academic year, as well as the shortened school week, plus yhe shortages of text books and improper infrastructure in far too many schools – is just too much.
All of this is worsened by the recent budget cuts, said the DA.
According to Mshengu, the districts with the highest number of shortages include Umlazi with an absence of 376 SMT staff, Umgungundlovu with 307, Harry Gwala with an absence of 286, Zululand with a shortage of 295 and Ugu with a shortage of 252.
“The vacancies will be advertised by 15 April 2021 and should be filled by 18 June 2021,” said Mshengu.