Learners across Nelson Mandela Bay face the prospect of school closures if day zero hits because the EC Department of Education has failed to honour the deadline to put a water disaster plan in place for schools.
Learners cannot be expected to relieve themselves in open fields and learn in unhygienic conditions.
The DA will be approaching the Speaker of the Eastern Cape Legislature to get answers from the Department on why they have failed to honour a unanimous resolution of the House.
Last month, the Legislature unanimously adopted a motion tabled by the DA, which called for the Department to conduct an impact assessment of all schools in the Nelson Mandela Bay and Kouga municipalities, with regards to how they will be affected by the unfolding water crisis.
The House further resolved that the results of the impact assessment must be used to develop a disaster management plan that would ensure all schools in the affected areas have access to potable water and sanitation through either connected water tanks or boreholes and that resources are made available for schools to fill their water tanks.
The Department was instructed to make the plan available to the Portfolio Committee of Education and implement the plan before learners returned from the June school recess period.
However, this has not happened. Several schools that have already been battling with water disruptions have revealed that they have not even been approached by the Department to discuss their needs.
There has also been no feedback to the Portfolio Committee on plans being put in place, or even if the impact assessment has begun.
The DA, through the office of the Chief Whip, will be engaging with the Speaker of the Legislature in terms of rule 203 of House Proceedings, to request that this matter be taken up with Education MEC, Fundile Gade.
MEC Gade will then have to explain, in writing, the reasons for not implementing the resolution as well as what steps have been undertaken to implement the resolution.
There is a pending catastrophe and the DA will not allow the Department to drag its feet. If these schools run out of water, our learners’ education will be severely disrupted. We will continue to fight for learners to have access to schools, which includes ensuring that these schools have the necessary resources to function.