‘Principal pocketed my wages’



August 19, 2016
‘Principal  pocketed my wages’

COMPLAINT: Maria Galant claims she had to give the principal R2 000 every month.

Teacher's aide claims she is jobless after piemping.

A teacher’s aide says she lost her job after piemping her school principal for alleged fraud.

Maria Galant, 40, from Capricorn had been working at Zirelda Park Primary in Seawinds for five years as teacher’s assistant.

She accused principal Lorna Engeldoe of defrauding her out of her hard-earned salary.

Engeldoe has since been suspended by the Western Cape Education Department.

Maria says when she piemped the palie, a WCED officer assured her the matter wouldn’t affect her job.

But she has since been told that her contract would not be renewed.

She says it all started in September 2014, when her salary was suddenly increased from R2 000 to R4 000.

But her joy was short-lived when Engeldoe allegedly ordered her to bring back the R2000 increase every month “because she had other people to pay”.

“She paid R4000 into my account and told me to bring her back R2000. She said I musn’t tell anybody about it,” says Maria.

She says she did as she was told, but things “didn’t feel right” and when she started asking the other employees about this “secret arrangement”, she learnt she was the only one doing it.

“This is when I lodged a complaint with the department,” adds Maria.

But it was only two years later, on April 12, 2016, that a formal complaint was processed by the WCED.

“I was called to her office and told [by Engeldoe] if she was out, I was out too,” says Maria.

“She was suspended on 29 July and on 11 August I was called to a meeting, where the acting principal told me that the WCED and circuit manager had asked the school to cancel all contracts.

“Now I am jobless, just as Engeldoe promised.”

Maria has now approached the CCMA to contest her dismissal.

“Principal Engeldoe made this happen because I told on her. It is unfair and I won’t leave things as is,” she says.

Since then, the school caretaker Frank Jubelin, 60, has also come forward, claiming Engeldoe did the same with him.

Responding to Daily Voice queries, Engeldoe confirmed her suspension, but says the allegations against her are lies.

“These people are lying. I have never taken money from the school for myself. My accusers are liars and their lies are part of jealousy and spitefulness. The truth will come out,” says Engeldoe.

Jessica Shelver, the spokesperson for Education MEC Debbie Shafer says they are aware of Maria’s claims and Engeldoe’s suspension, and that “the matter is being investigated”.

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