by Safiyia Stanfley – DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Education
Date: 09 November 2017
Type: Press Statement
The DA is deeply concerned that the Northern Cape Education Department is functioning as a “temp agency” as a result of the growing mismanagement of funds. We will do all in our power to increase oversight of this critical department, to ensure that education comes first.
Instead of directing its budgetary allocation towards improving the quality of education in the province, the department is incurring increased amounts of irregular expenditure, largely related to supply chain management processes not being properly followed.
The latest audit report indicates that the department incurred irregular expenditure of R323,416 million, which is up from irregular expenditure of R220,802 million incurred the previous year. On top of this, the accumulated irregular expenditure of the department for the past 14 years now stands on R2,578 billion.
If the department was really serious about teaching, it would have by now have made a concerted effort to tackle its excessively high irregular expenditure and stop the inherent looting of funds that takes place within the education sector.
Instead, funds intended to beef up capacity at schools are freely spent on filling the pockets of corrupt officials and their friends, who blatantly ignore the prescripts of the Public Finance Management Act, with little to no consequence management taking place.
In the meantime, instability in schools is on the rise.
If the people’s money wasn’t mismanaged, the department could by now have made significant inroads into permanently appointing 600 teachers in the province who continue to be employed on a contract basis or who serve as substitute teachers.
The temporary nature of the employment of contract and substitute teachers is unsettling to teachers, who are shunted from one class or school to another. These teachers aren’t able to give their best, as they must jump around according to the whims of the department. Understandably, they become demotivated and this rubs off on the learners.
At the same time, learners who are consistently schooled by different teachers are robbed of the benefits of fostering good working relationships with their teachers. They are constantly in flux, not able to get used to one style of teaching. This is confusing and does not create an environment conducive to quality education.
The DA will await replies, due tomorrow, to questions that we posed at the department’s Annual Report presentation to the legislature yesterday.
It is becoming more clear that this department is purposefully misrepresenting the truth to the respective portfolio committee. If the DA is of the view that the department is again being selective with the truth, we will request and urgent follow-up meeting with this department.
A good quality education for our children is critical to developing a sustainable and successful South Africa. If the Northern Education Department can’t provide this, they must be put on the chopping block.
DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Education
084 919 4157
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387