IT WAS common knowledge in Port Elizabeth that people were submitting CVs for grade R teaching posts to Portia Sizani, the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court heard on Wednesday.
That was what led Sandiswe Jaftha to come into contact with Ms Sizani, the wife of African National Congress parliamentary chief whip Stone Sizani, for the first time in January 2009. Ms Jaftha, who was not qualified to work as a grade R teacher, received a stipend from the department without lifting a finger.
The second of a string of ghost teachers called to testify in the fraud trial, Ms Jaftha, said she had met Ms Sizani in her office in January 2009, and handed over copies of her ID, CV and a record of her qualifications.
Ms Sizani, early childhood development district co-ordinator at the time, is accused of processing fraudulent applications that resulted in the irregular appointments of grade R practitioners, effectively costing the state in excess of R1.2m. She would allegedly obtain the personal details of teachers, apply for posts on their behalf and falsify the principal’s signature of approval. Once the money was paid by the department into the teachers’ accounts, Ms Sizani would allegedly inform them that a mistake had been made and that the money should be paid back to her.
Ms Jaftha said she did not know Ms Sizani on a personal level but they were related through Ms Sizani’s brother’s child.
She said in about October 2009, Ms Sizani called her back to her office, where she had