Department of Education wastes R1,7million on out of date app

Issued by Yusuf Cassim, MPL
Shadow MEC for Education

The Eastern Cape Department of Education has wasted R1,7million on an application, named Sikuncede Njani, that is outdated and therefore serves no real purpose.

In response to a parliamentary question from the DA, MEC of Education, Fundile Gade, said the app is currently up to date with relevant information that can be utilised by the public and officials of the Department.

SEE: IQP 32 2nd session replies Q 766

Link to app: Click here

This is not true. After phoning no less than 30 numbers of schools and officials, as listed on the app, there was not one single correct contact number. Some numbers associated with schools are private numbers, some numbers do not exist, even the numbers given for department officials are incorrect.

The app was designed and is maintained by Vodacom to serve the following purpose:

  • It gives the citizens all the information you need regarding the schools in the province, including the contact details of the Department at head office, district and school level.
  • It helps citizens to report any issues that are related to the Department.
  • It helps the officials capture and track all the complaints that were reported to the Department and its progress.

Although this is a great initiative that pushes the Department towards the fourth industrial revolution, as it exists currently, it is simply wasteful expenditure.

A capable state requires accessible and responsive department officials. The outdated nature of this costly application is furthering the frustration of parents, rather than easing it.

I challenge the MEC and his Department to start working on updating and actively tracking the application so that it can be utilised to its full potential.

Not only will this benefit members of the public, schools, and learners, but it would be of great use to the Department with regards to resolving queries.