Government Gazzete has announced that the treasury would be withdrawing about 33% of its infrastructural grants from the Eastern Cape department of education this year.
This decision came after the Eastern Cape was rated the worst performing province in the 2015 Grade 12 exams, with a pass rate of 56.8%.
The treasury took this decision pointing out that the department has poorly managed the fund allocated to them. It would instead divide and reallocate the R530m education grant to the Gauteng, Limpopo and Western Cape provinces.
“The EC government is not serious about improving infrastructure in its schools. We have 6 000 schools and a number of them have no running water. Around 80% do not have computer centres and 93% have no libraries. Yet we have a government that returns that money because of low expenditure. We keep piling problems, and we are failing our kids,” the Eastern Cape’s Equal Education spokesperson Lumkile Zani said while confirming the withdrawal.
Zani noted that while the province had put plans in place to confront the problems of infrastructure at schools, there were still pupils who were still taught under a tree in rural areas.
“It’s inconceivable that this year we will still have learners who will go to mud schools and learn under trees. Every day these children are taught in an environments which is not conducive to learning, under the watch of EC government. It’s inexcusable,” Zani said
Meanwhile, the DA’s finance spokesperson in the Eastern Cape, Bobby Stevenson said the problem with the province was the inability of the Department of Public Works to act as an implementing agent. He however promised to pursue the matter in the portfolio committees to ensure accountability.
He admitted that over 600 schools lack portable water, electricity and sanitation. This money would have gone a long way to assisting some of them put the indignity of pit toilets behind them. Thousands of learners must continue to suffer at the hands of inefficient bureaucrats,” Stevenson said.
“This results in other service providers, such as the Independent Development Trust and Coega Development Corporation, having to do the job which results in higher costs and delays,” he added.