The Democratic Alliance in Bhisho has submitted a request to the Speaker of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature in terms of the rules that important issues around education in the province be discussed in the House as a Matter of Public Importance (Rule 126). The next sitting of the legislature will be on Tuesday, 14 August 2012.

It is time that Education MEC Mandla Makupula accounts to the elected public representatives of the Eastern Cape as to the current crisis in education. The legislature needs to exercise vigorous oversight over the Department of Education and the place for this to be done is in portfolio committees and particularly in House sittings. This is the foremost institution in our province for holding the provincial cabinet to account. The only reason why people are turning to the courts is because the legislature is failing to carry out its responsibilities. The DA demands that our provincial parliament starts doing its job more effectively.

The DA’s shadow MEC for Education, Edmund van Vuuren wrote to the Speaker yesterday (subs: 7 Aug 2012), to request a discussion on:

  1.  The chronic shortage of text- and workbooks in schools in the Eastern Cape;
  2. The implications of the recent High Court judgement decision that all vacant teacher posts in the province should be filled by 2 November 2012.

The DA has identified chronic workbook shortages in the Port Elizabeth and Queenstown districts. Late last week, on a visit to the Louis Rex Primary School in Queenstown, we were informed of a shortage of 2 300 books at just that one school.

Numerous visits to the PE district warehouse where books in the wrong language were being returned by schools also highlight the fact there has been no improvement in the shortage crisis.

Furthermore, on 3 August 2012 the Grahamstown High Court ordered National Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga, the MEC for Education, Mandla Makupula and their directors general to fill every vacant teacher post in schools in the Eastern Cape by 2 November 2012.

It is in the interest of the citizens of the Eastern Cape at large that practical decisions are made to bring an end to the textbook crisis and that the implications of the High Court judgement on vacancies are dealt with in a decisive manner to ensure that education in this province is put back on track.

The DA believes that education is a ticket out of cycle of poverty, unemployment and equality.