SENIOR officials from the Eastern Cape department of education have been locked in meetings with five deputy ministers to assess the implementation of national intervention in the beleaguered department.
The Daily Dispatch has learnt from a reliable source that deputy ministers involved in the national five-a-side team arrived on Monday for a two-day visit to the province.
They included Department of Basic Education (DBE) Deputy Minister Mohamed Enver Surty; Finance Deputy Minister Nhlanhla Musa Nene; Constitutional Development Deputy Minister Andries Carl Nel; Higher Education Deputy Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize; and Public Service and Administration Deputy Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.
The meetings were held at the Stirling Education Leadership Institute in East London.
Eastern Cape provincial government spokesman Mahlubandile Qwase said the deputies were asked by the 10member ministerial team in a meeting with Zuma on November 18 to visit the province to monitor the implementation of the intervention.
Qwase said the team had met with departmental officials and stakeholders on Tuesday and yesterday.
“They will report to the full five-aside their findings. This is in line with the decision of the meeting with the president and five-a-side on September 13 that the Eastern Cape will implement and national government will monitor and support,” he said.
This comes after an insider in the department claimed the visit followed a meeting between DBE Minister Angie Motshekga and President Jacob Zuma where it was decided that a “total takeover” of the department should now be implemented.
The source said both education MEC Mandla Makupula and head of department (HOD) superintendent-general Modidima Mannya were among the officials “grilled” in the meeting this week.
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj would not be drawn into commenting on the meeting between Motshekga and Zuma.
“I’m not able to confirm that. I suggest you contact Motshekga’s department.”
DBE spokesman Panyaza Lesufi, however, said reports that the meeting had taken place were “false”.
Lesufi confirmed that Surty and others were in the province to compile reports on the state of preparedness of the department for the 2012 academic year.
“They will meet with all stakeholders, including the MEC. They are going to get reports on whether there have been challenges since implementation of intervention.”
Opposition parties, however, claimed the intervention was not working.
DA spokesman on education Edmund van Vuuren said that since the implementation of section 100 (the legal provision allowing for national intervention in provincial government), there had not been changes.
“The same senior directors who are not accountable are still in charge and things are still the same,” he said. Van Vuuren said it was possible that some schools would begin next year without necessary learning material.
COPE provincial deputy chairman Mbulelo Ntenzwa said the intervention was not working.
“The HOD has not demonstrated readiness on the delivery of books to school early next year. Much time has been spent on who was the accounting officer of the department and there are no deliverables on the ground.” — firstname.lastname@example.org