Education Department continues to mislead Legislature with impunity

Issued by Yusuf Cassim, MPL
Shadow MEC for Education

The Education Department seems intent on misleading the Legislature and avoid being held to account, by submitting blatant untruths in response to parliamentary questions.

Today it has become apparent that the Department has once again submitted untruths to the House.

Earlier this year I was contacted by a disgruntled parent pleading for assistance in obtaining her son’s National Senior Certificate (NSC) which has been outstanding since he wrote his NSC examinations in 2017.

Numerous attempts to gain clarity from the Department, including from senior managers, the district director and Education MEC Fundile Gade, fell on deaf ears. After exhausting all other means, I then submitted a parliamentary question to get clarity on what the hold up was.

In the response MEC Gade stated that the certificate had been sent for printing in September and would be ready for collection on 15 October 2019.

SEE: IQP 12 q 282.

Upon receiving the response, the mother and her son visited the school, and the district education office, after 15 October 2019. The officials at the school and the district office were unaware of the MEC’s commitment and the certificate was nowhere to be found.

Last week MEC Gade and his department were caught out in a blatant lie around the Sonwabile Primary school in Ncera Village, Buffalo City Metro. The MEC denied that grade R learners had been denied their right to education for an entire term, because the department failed to repair the roof of their classroom.

An oversight quickly established that the Department’s submissions to the Legislature were a blatant lie.

While the Education Department continues to dodge being held accountable, for the past two years this former learner has been unable to apply to any tertiary institution and has been unsuccessful in job interviews due to him not being able to prove that he has passed grade 12.

Last week I submitted a letter to the Speaker, to request that a thorough investigation be conducted into the misleading response received on Sonwabile Primary school, which to date has not even been acknowledged.

I will be submitting a follow up request to the Speaker to investigate the latest response submitted by the MEC.

The Department believes they are a law unto themselves, accountable to no-one and able to do as they please. This arrogance is destroying lives, and it is about time that the MEC and the legislature take those responsible to task.

If the Premier and his executive are serious about their commitment to the people of this province, it cannot be business as usual.