The Citizen recently visited Jacobs at her home in Klipsruit west, Soweto, where she lives with her three children and a grandchild in a backyard room. According to Jacobs, her ordeal with the department began five years ago, when she made the move from the Eastern Cape to Johannesburg, after her divorce.
“I arrived in Johannesburg in 2010 and I was unemployed for the whole of 2011. The following year I was employed at the Firethorn primary school after I sent my CV upon hearing about a vacant post.
“While I was working there, I went to the department, accompanied by the school principal, to sort out some paperwork so I could start getting paid, but in June of 2012 the principal told me that somebody from the department called her to tell her that they could not pay me because my details had been blocked and that they needed to dismiss me.”
She sought consultations with the department, but to no avail. “I was sent from pillar to post.Eventually I was told that I needed to go back to the Eastern Cape because the problem originated from there. I went there on several occasions, and I was forced to borrow money every time [for the trip].”
Making it through the month for Jacobs and her family is almost impossible. She said she has been forced to borrow money, just to pay her monthly rent, as well as taking care of her children. She owes her previous landlord R4 500, and R33 000 to the school where she was employed,
Jacobs who currently helps out at a local creche, is taking home a mere R1 000. “I have been telling my eldest daughter that sometimes it’s better to die, not to have the stress of paying rent and buying food.”
Gauteng education department spokesperson Phumla Sekhonyane said Jacobs had been advised to request the Eastern Cape department of education to unblock her details.
“This will allow her to work any -where in the public service, but the Gauteng department has no powers to unblock anyone’s [file] if it is blocked by the other departments,” Sekhonyane said. National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA president Basil Manuel said he was shocked that Jacobs’ employment record had been blocked.
“This can only happen due to misconduct, or when somebody resigns in the wake of an investigation brought against them. Jacobs’ case is ridiculous and unforgivable,” he said.
Eastern Cape education department spokesperson Mali Mtima said he had asked for an investigation into the matter after the district was unable to to provide a detailed report.