PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma kept his promise when 20 new computers and R200 000 of sports equipment was handed over to four rural schools in Peddie at the weekend.
The event at Ntloko comes after a visit by Zuma and other government ministers to needy rural schools in June.
However, opposition parties criticised the R200 000 price tag on the event yesterday, saying the money should have been used to benefit the schools directly.
The event was attended by scores of people with a performance from award winning afro pop singer Ntando Bangani.
Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, both scheduled to be guests speakers, failed to arrive, leaving the job to Sports, Arts and Culture MEC Xoliswa Tom.
The schools that benefited from the donation were Minenkulu High School, Sobantu High School, Ntloko Primary School and Lower Gwadana Primary School.
DA MPL John Cupido said yesterday a smaller, less expensive event should have taken place, especially after both ministers failed to attend.
“The amount given to communities should always outweigh that spent on the event,” he added.
COPE MPL Mbulelo Ntenjwa said: “It is good there is a focus on the rural areas, but the money [for the party] could have been used for something that would benefit the people of the village for generations to come.”
In defence of the bash, the Eastern Cape’s director of sport, Bafundi Makubalo, said it was for the people of Peddie. “The majority of service providers were from that area. This was part of the revitalisation of small towns.”
During her address, Tom said more rural schools would be visited and aided in the near future. “A school is not complete if it does not have a library, computer laboratory and a sports field,” Tom said.
The MEC advised parents to support and encourage children during their matric exams which start today.
All 20 computers were donated to the Minenkulu High Schools by the Adopt-A-Child Foundation.
The foundation’s chairman, Luvuyo Mpambani, said Minenkulu was selected because the charity wanted to increase the number of pupils who would enrol at universities.
The sports equipment was donated by the national Department of Sport and divided among the four schools.
Minenkulu High School sports master Nkosinati Ngesi said the computers would benefit all 96 pupils, from grades 8 to 12.
Local chief Zanovuyo Mjokweni said the donations would improve education in the area and motivate pupils to “stay away from bad behaviour”.
Commenting on the sports equipment, Sinethemba Mxotwa, a Grade 10 rugby vice-captain at Minenkulu, said his peers had quit the sport because they did not have adequate equipment.
He said the new kit would definitely convince his former teammates to return to the field.
Parent Nomelikhaya Maswana, 65, said she was happy the government had kept its word.