At the heart of a capable state is a government that is aware of the quality of services they produce, alive to the needs of their citizens and responsive to the issues that they face. Any government that fails in this respect will never be capable to deliver on its mandate.
The Eastern Cape Education MEC, Fundile Gade, clearly has no idea what his Department is doing, nor does he have any control over them.
This has become evident in the growing number of replies to parliamentary questions that the MEC has simply been unable to answer.
The questions he has been unable to provide responses to include:
- The number of learners who were unable to start the academic year in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 due to availability or space in schools in the province;
- The number of schools that could not open on the first day of the 2020 academic year; the reasons for not being able to open; whether all schools in the province are now open; the measures the department took to ensure all schools were ready to open; how many learners are on waiting lists to attend school; or when these learners will be placed in schools;
- How many learners were not registered and therefore unable to start the academic year in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020;
- What plans the department implemented in the past 5 years to ensure that all registered learners are placed within a school;
- How many National Senior Certificates (NSC) are still outstanding and have not been received by matriculants from 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019;
- How many illegal schools were identified in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019; how many of these schools were closed in the years above, how many learners attended these illegal schools; and whether the department has any plans to ensure that illegals schools are non-operational.
The lack of knowledge shown by MEC Gade about his own department has dire consequences for the learners of the Eastern Cape.
Since the beginning of the year I have been inundated with Eastern Cape residents asking for assistance from the Democratic Alliance for placement of their children in schools and being provided their long overdue National Senior Certificates.
There are still learners in this province who have not yet started their 2020 academic year, because the Department of Education has not provided any feedback to their parents cries for help for placements.
Matriculants as far back as 2015, who have qualified for their NSC have still not received their certificates. These delays seriously impact on these individual’s futures, as they are unable to pursue further studies or seek work.
I have attempted to set up a meeting with MEC Gade since the 3rd of February 2020, I am still waiting to hear back from him regarding his availability.
On 3 March 2020 in my response to the state of the province address by Premier Oscar Mabuyane, I raised my concerns and personally handed all the communication to the department of education that has gone unanswered to the Premier.
The DA Leader in the Provincial Legislature, Bobby Stevenson, will be writing to the Speaker of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, Helen August-Sauls, to highlight the lack of quality responses from the MEC.
The DA is committed to creating an open opportunity society for all which will be underpinned by a capable state.
The DA condemns the behavior and lack of concern shown by the department d Education towards the people, and especially the children in the Eastern Cape and we will continue to fight for fair treatment of all citizens.