Learners not in safe hands under the Department of Health

Issued by Yusuf Cassim, MPL
Shadow MEC for Education

The Democratic Alliance is extremely concerned for the safety and well-being of learners in the Eastern Cape after provincial schools were placed under the custodianship of the Department of Health.

The Eastern Cape Department of Health is itself in chaos and has proven itself unable to manage its own response to the current Covid-19 crisis. Placing the task of custodianship of schools in their hands places the lives of learners at risk!

The department of Education needs to own up to its own shortcomings, and if it is unable to do so, the Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, needs to step in.

Since May I have repeatedly called on the premier to personally oversee and guide the MEC for Education, Fundile Gade, and his department in relation to the Covid-19 response.

See: letter

This followed after the department’s failure to deliver PPE to all schools, failure to address water shortages and failure to provide clear plans relating to the transportation of learners.

Despite the calls for intervention, when schools were eventually reopened last week, 8 June 2020, there were still thousands of schools in the province which had not received all the necessary PPE and resources for the learners, teachers and staff.

The crisis that the Department of Education finds itself in is due to poor management, not a lack of expertise on health matters.

As further grades are phased in, the chaos will intensify unless there is proper management put in place. This will require key interventions, as well as regular oversight.

It is time for Premier Mabuyane to step in as the leader of this province, to ensure that his MEC’s and departments deliver on the promised services to the people of the Eastern Cape.