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Education ministry puts teacher funds deduction on hold

by Rodney Pienaar

The education ministry has put deduction of funds on hold for teachers that were over paid in overcommitted allowances following interference by the Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN), permanent secretary Sanet Steenkamp has said. 

She also said the ministry’s regional directorates are busy verifying whether the complaints forwarded to the ministry by the TUN are correct. 

“The funds were supposed to be deducted but due to a complaint letter sent to the ministry by TUN, deduction of funds has not yet started as the ministry is busy with assessment at regional level. If the ministry is done with thorough assessment, then we will go ahead with all the plans,” she said. 

She added that the union intervention is meant to see to it that justice and fair handling of issues around money deduction matters are practiced.

The ministry is aiming at recovering money that was over paid to some of the teachers between April 2015 and December 2016. 

“TUN claims that the letters served to specific teachers in the regions are unlawful, so we will take this time to look into the matter before any deductions are made. All teaches in the region whose funds will be deducted have already been informed officially that the deductions will be made from November. The over-payment comes as a result of the remote allowance,” Steenkamp said. 

She added that the amount deducted depend on the salary scale of every teacher that has been over-paid.

Teachers have been advised to approach the ministry before-hand if they can pay the amounts suggested by the ministry.

However, Steenkamp could not reveal the full amount owed to the ministry by the teachers that have been over paid. 

“I can not confirm the full amount that the ministry is expecting to recover from these deductions yet, but will definitely be able to say once everything is in order. The number of teachers will also be made public soonest,” she said.

She further advised all affected teachers to approach the ministry’s regional offices for further queries.

The education ministry issued a letter to teachers in the beginning of November informing them that amounts ranging from N$ 750 to N$ 1 750 will be deducted from their salaries for a period of 12 to 24 months effective from November.

The director of Oshikoto region education directorate Lamek Kafidi declined to comment on the matter. 

“Why would I really want to comment on staff members’ issues. I will not say anything at all so please write what pleases you,” he said.