EC Education Department an embarrassment as thousands of schools fail to reopen

Issued by Yusuf Cassim, MPL
Shadow MEC for Education

The Eastern Cape Department of Education is an outright embarrassment, that seems more interested in awarding tenders to ANC Cadres, than they are about ensuring the safe return of learners who have lost more than two and half months of school.

In a presentation on the weekend, Premier Oscar Mabuyane said that, as of Friday, 3197 of the 5105 schools still had not received any Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for Learners, which means that these schools would not be able to accept learners.

Mabuyane said 3286 schools were technically ready to open, in that the principal and teachers were ready to return to school, 1751 were partially ready and 156 were not at all ready to open.

A progress report submitted to the Education Portfolio Committee on Friday last week also revealed that 3 334 schools still needed to be cleaned and 716 schools have been verified as not having any water.

This is in sharp contrast to what the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, said in her briefing over the weekend, that 4660 Eastern Cape schools are ready to open. It would appear that the Minister is being misled.

Instead of putting systems in place to streamline the delivery of PPE’s, a decentralised system was put in place, which has allegedly opened the doors for unscrupulous ANC Cadres who have chosen to once again loot the state coffers.

It is not surprising that reports are now coming in of numerous cases where the appointed supplier has failed to deliver the necessary supplies or have delivered supplies that are sub-standard.

It appears that once again it is profits ahead of people!

Several weeks ago I requested that a daily report be submitted to the Portfolio Committee by the Department, which was to provide a breakdown of PPE purchased, what the individual cost per item was, which schools were still awaiting PPE, and who the suppliers are.

MEC Fundile Gade gave his commitment that such a report would be made available from Tuesday last week. To date this report has not been provided, which begs the question, what are they hiding?

I have now twice written to the Portfolio Committee Chairperson, to request that the promised daily reports be made available.

If the academic year is to be saved, then the Premier has no option but to step in and sort out this disgrace of a department.