CONFUSION OVER ROLES IN EC EDUCATION: DAILY DISPATCH

CONFUSION reigns over what roles education MEC Mandla Makupula and acting superintendent-general Mthunywa Ngonzo will play in the Eastern Cape’s national education department’s intervention.

Makupula, addressing the portfolio committee on education in Bhisho yesterday, said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and her officials last week presented the intervention organogram to the province.

Neither himself nor Ngonzo, who takes up the role of acting SG for six months, were on the list.

Makupula said the organogram outlined six task teams headed by officials from national government departments.

However, Makupula said he expected the team would report to him and Ngonzo as they were still in charge of the provincial department.

“After we met as politicians, processes were outlined.

“There are six teams, each with a convenor, and they will be convened by the [national] director-general and the three-member team led by Ray Tywakadi,” said Makupula.

“When I asked about the role of the MEC, the response was that I remain the MEC.

“The accounting officer with chief directors will continue doing their normal work, but there will be these teams paying attention to six areas.”

The teams have been tasked with developing an action plan within 14 days, upon which Motshekga will return to the Eastern Cape to check on progress.

Makupula said he would meet with Tywakadi to clarify all the roles and plans.

“The actuality of the situation will show itself as we work.

“Once we get to the actual implementation of the Section 100(b) intervention, things will work out.”

Questions were also raised yesterday over who has control of the Eastern Cape department of education’s R26-billion budget.

Makupula said Ngonzo, who will be the acting SG for the next six months, has been given powers by the Treasury as accounting officer to utilise the budget.

He was responding to questions from committee chairman Mzoleli Mrara, who wanted clarity on who was to use the province’s budget after Motshekga’s announcement of a full intervention last week.

“What will be the accounting lines of the R26.2bn budget? As the committee we’ll have to account to the legislature because we voted for this budget.

“Whoever touches that money will be required to come in front of this portfolio committee.

“The buck stops with the portfolio committee. We don’t want any confusion,” Mrara said.

Mrara said Makupula and his team would have to clarify the roles of officials deployed by the national department to quell any further confusion.

Opposition parties yesterday also posed questions about decisions taken during the tenure of former SG Modidima Mannya.

The DA shadow minister of education, Edmund van Vuuren, asked about the effectiveness of directives Mannya had issued.

UDM MPL Jackson Bici inquired whether there were any external factors that had led to Mannya’s removal.

Bici also asked how the province planned to reach the 70% pass rate Motshekga had set down as a condition. This pass rate, he said, was “unrealistic”.

Makupula said Ngonzo was expected to implement the directives of the department, especially that of the appointment of teachers, adding that Motshekga was expected to support the department with the necessary resources to reach the targeted pass rate.

He further said the decision to terminate Mannya’s contract was not influenced by any external forces – including unions.

Makupula also said he was not privy to details of the settlement reached between Mannya and Premier Kiviet.

Ngonzo said after he had met with the provincial officials he found there was a general collapse of systems in the governance and management of the education department. — msindisif@