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School staff forced into sex for jobs

13 November 2017 - 05:00 By PREGA GOVENDER
School desks
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

Socioeconomic challenges are forcing young women in Gauteng's education department into sexual relationships with senior officials.

These staff, as well as general assistants and interns training to become scholar patrollers, were the most vulnerable to contracting HIV/Aids, said the department's latest annual report.

"They often engage in transactional relationships with employees in higher positions in the organisationto bridge their economic challenges," the report said.

A total of 112 out of the 7631 employees and teachers from seven provincial education departments who volunteered for HIV testing this year tested positive.

Robert Foroma, a director in the Public Service and Administration Department's employee health and wellness unit, spoke about how contract workers in the public service were vulnerable to abuse.

Foroma said last week that after the expiry of contracts, staff think that "by sleeping with someone who holds a permanent position, who is in higher position, it will help them".

"So people are contracting HIV in the same working environment. They enter the system not HIV-positive but when they leave, they leave HIV-positive."

Public Service and Administration Department spokesman Dumisani Nkwamba said Foroma had been using temporary teachers as an example.

"The context of his statement is that usually employees who are on contracts may become more vulnerable and thus subjected to some form of ill-treatment and fall victim of abuse while attempting to secure their futures."

Gauteng education department spokesman Steve Mabona said research showed transactional relationships were prevalent among teachers and the department was trying to curb the problem by offering workshops on HIV issues and strategies to prevent unsafe sex and gender-based violence.

At least 1200 teachers in Gauteng received training in the past financial year.

Tshwanelo Mmutlana, executive officer at the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of SA, said it was "absolutely wrong" that young, qualified females were forced to use sex to get jobs.