Jan 20, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Fired principal who took kickback on textbook order fails to get his job back

A acting headmaster who shared bribes for a textbook order with a headmaster was unable to reverse his sacking by the Free State Department of Education.

RJ Segalo lost his R33,000-a-month job at Ditholwana Primary in Botshabelo after sharing a R6,000 bribe with the governing body chairman, according to a finding by the Education Labor Relations Council.

Segalo told referee AW Howden he was unaware that the money is a bribe or that accepting it is against the law. But Howden said, “That in itself is dishonesty.”

Former Chair of the Governing Body, Ms. S. Mifi, told the arbitrator that Treasurer, Ms. M. Molupe, asked her and Segalo to signing a check together for R50,000 for the books, saying the supplier would “make them up”.

She later met the supplier at an ATM and he handed over R6,000. She kept R2,000 and gave Segalo R4,000, which he kept when Molupe refused to take her share.

Molupe said she had an agreement with Segalo and Mifi to allow someone’s books buy that would pay a kickback. She didn’t want to take her share until the books were delivered, but that never happened.

Segalo testified that he first learned about the bribe payment when he received the money from Mifi. He said he had no knowledge of procurement procedures and had been placed in an awkward position by the two governors.

But Howden said: “[Segalo] is a well educated, mature man who has taken on a position of responsibility Why would such a person… just sign a check for such a large amount after being kept in the dark?

“In this day and age, where bribery/corruption and ‘tenderpreneurship’ are the main focus play It’s inconceivable on the agenda that any sane and responsible person would do such a thing.”

The referee criticized Segalo for claiming that he only raised the alarm about the bribes two or three weeks later than they did books were not supplied.

“One conclusion that can be made here is that [he] suddenly realized he would be exposed for his misdeeds, and conveniently a mind wall el had,” he said.

“[Segalo] chose to plead ignorance and tried to shift the blame onto others. However, based on the information provided by the parties and weighing the probabilities, I conclude that [he] acted dishonestly in this matter and in breach of the Rules or Standards.”