PYEI-BEEI Teaching Assistants Not Being Paid

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More than a million job opportunities was created as part of the Basic Education Employment Initiative. However, former teaching assistants have not received money for months. 

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The Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI) is hailed as a critical programme that provides unemployed youth with the opportunity to earn some money and gain skills for their future in the workplace. However, some youth in North West province have been left disappointed after not being paid. 

The programme created more than one million employment and training opportunities for young people in the education sector. Young people were employed in schools across the country as education and general school assistants.

These roles include Curriculum Assistants, Reading Champions, E-Cadres, Care and Support Assistants, Sports and Enrichment Assistants, and Handymen/Women. 

For their work, Both the Education Assistants and General Assistants received R4 081.44 per month. 1% of this would be contributed to the UIF. However, assistants at a school in Ventersdorp did not receive their salaries. 

Former Education Assistants and General Workers at Ikhutseng Intermediate School in Ventersdorp are raising concerns about not receiving their full remuneration.

Many of them, who were contracted employees from May to September as part of the fourth phase of the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative, claim to have only been paid for May and June.

From July until September, we still have not received our payments. We are now concerned because it’s been a month since our contracts ended. We’ve made enquiries about our payments and are not getting a straight answer. 

One former assistant says after submitting enquiries to the department, they were informed that the money had been paid to the school.  

The North-West Department of Education says the delay is due to an error made by the school principal, confusing the payment system. The department says it is actively addressing the issue and working to clear up the payment discrepancies.

For the past two months, so as the department we have looked into the matter and we are busy clearing up the system. 

In 2023, the fourth and final phase of the BEEI concluded. Several stakeholders called for the extension of the youth employment initiative

Brigit Hannah, Innovation Director at the DG Murray Trust said prioritising funding for the programme's will go a long way in addressing challenges like youth unemployment while also assisting in the education sector. 

The President also praised the programme as they not only reduced poverty but have enabled recipients to search for jobs and to engage in other economic activity to support their livelihoods. 

In November, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announced that the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative (PYEI) will be extended. They explained this would be made possible by repurposing of funds. 

The presidential employment initiative will be extended for another year through repurposing of a portion of funds from existing public employment programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programme and the Community Works Programme. A comprehensive review of public employment programmes is underway. 

It is however unclear which programmes within the initiative, such as the BEEI which saw teaching assistants being appointed, will be included in this extension.

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A programme that created more than one million job opportunities has reached the conclusion of its forth phase. While there is no official decision on whether the programme will continue in the future, the education department is urging youth not to apply for placement.

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