Of the R1.3 billion that was allocated for infrastructure to the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape, only R492 million will be available for new projects in the current financial year. This shocking revelation was made during a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Education in Bhisho this week.
This budget, which had been set aside for the building of new schools, repairs and refurbishments and the eradication of mud structures has been depleted by R808 million. “What makes it worse is that the R808 million will be used to pay for commitments to infrastructure in the last financial year, as well as for accruals resulting from the non-payment of contractors in the 2009/10 financial year,” Van Vuuren said.The cut in the infrastructure budget will have a huge effect in providing much needed schools to our communities. The eradication of mud structures will remain a pipe dream and schools like Booysens Park Secondary in Port Elizabeth are still not sure whether their school will be repaired, although promises were made that work on the school will start towards the end of October of this financial year.
“Let us see whether this department will deliver on their promises. They have failed us so many times, with the result that we can no longer believe what they say. Actually, this department is in direct opposition to our constitution, in denying our learners access to education by not providing conducive conditions for teaching and learning to take place.
“The Democratic Alliance firmly believes that education is the foundation for opportunities and children should not be denied these opportunities because of the circumstances of their birth,” he said.