Mot­shekga takes con­trol of three prov­inces

CityPress - - News - SIPHO MA­SONDO sipho.ma­sondo@city­press.co.za

Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Angie Mot­shekga is send­ing teams of ex­perts to three prov­inces fol­low­ing con­tin­ued poor ma­tric re­sults, bad cur­ricu­lum de­liv­ery and “weak ad­min­is­tra­tion”, which in­cludes fi­nan­cial mis­man­age­ment.

In an at­tempt to save the pro­vin­cial de­part­ments in the Eastern Cape, KwaZu­luNatal and Lim­popo, Mot­shekga re­solved to dis­patch the ex­perts from the be­gin­ning of next month, City Press has learnt.

The depart­ment in the Eastern Cape is still partly un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion fol­low­ing Cabi­net’s 2011 de­ci­sion to in­voke sec­tion 100 1(B) of the Con­sti­tu­tion – which al­lows for the takeover of some func­tions of a depart­ment. Lim­popo was also un­der com­plete ad­min­is­tra­tion be­tween De­cem­ber 2011 and Jan­uary 2015.

KwaZulu-Na­tal has not been un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion, but poor fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, which has led to sev­eral mul­ti­mil­lion-rand bailouts in re­cent years, has caused the depart­ment to col­lapse. On Fri­day, a se­nior bu­reau­crat in Mot­shekga’s of­fice, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, told City Press “the of­fi­cials have been sourced from dif­fer­ent prov­inces. All of them are ex­perts in their fields. They will get a proper brief from the min­is­ter be­fore they leave. “But gen­er­ally they will help with the ad­min­is­tra­tion in those prov­inces.” The team go­ing to the Eastern Cape will have to help with the re­struc­tur­ing of the depart­ment. “We are cut­ting down the num­ber of dis­tricts from 23 to 12, and there are very sen­si­tive HR im­pli­ca­tions. “They must also help us ra­tio­nalise schools.” The Eastern Cape had the low­est ma­tric pass rate, at 56.8%, last year. The depart­ment has been un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion at least three times since 1999 and has seen at least 19 heads and nine MECs in 22 years of democ­racy. Mud schools and pupils learn­ing un­der trees are still a com­mon fea­ture in the prov­ince, which early this year re­turned R530 mil­lion to Trea­sury for fail­ing to build schools.

Sin­dis­ile Zamisa, the pro­vin­cial SA Demo­cratic Teach­ers’ Union (Sadtu) ad­min­is­tra­tor, said: “We have heard that, and it seems to be kept a se­cret. I got con­fir­ma­tion from a se­nior of­fi­cial in the depart­ment. Our view is that we don’t think this thing will work. We don’t have a depart­ment, it has col­lapsed com­pletely. We need a com­plete over­haul of the depart­ment.”

In KwaZulu-Na­tal, the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment has equally col­lapsed. In Jan­uary City Press re­ported that the depart­ment was broke and se­nior bu­reau­crats were call­ing for it to be placed un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion. An ex­pen­di­ture re­port for the first six months of the 2015/16 fi­nan­cial year, which ended in Septem­ber last year, re­vealed Na­tional Trea­sury and pro­vin­cial trea­sury had to bail the depart­ment out with R908 mil­lion. Much of the money, the re­port re­vealed, was spent on salaries and ad­min­is­tra­tion. More­over, the re­port showed that close to R1 bil­lion meant for in­fra­struc­ture had been used to pay salaries. The sup­ply of food to schools had also been er­ratic, with thou­sands of pupils forced to forgo their meals for months.

In Fe­bru­ary, the depart­ment’s for­mer head Nkosi­nathi Sishi an­nounced he would freeze the salaries of 4 000 ghost teach­ers who were cost­ing the depart­ment mil­lions. The prov­ince also recorded a dis­mal ma­tric per­for­mance. Last year it ob­tained a 60.7% pass rate, down from 69.7% in 2014, and 77.4% in 2013.

Five years ago, govern­ment placed the Lim­popo ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment, along­side four oth­ers, un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion fol­low­ing mas­sive cor­rup­tion that ren­dered part of govern­ment tech­ni­cally bank­rupt.

The fol­low­ing year, in 2012, the depart­ment bun­gled a mul­ti­mil­lion-rand con­tract that re­sulted in the fail­ure to de­liver text­books to hun­dreds of thou­sands of pupils. The ad­min­is­tra­tion was even­tu­ally lifted early last year, but the depart­ment is strug­gling to re­cover. The three de­part­ments are also among the six that the jobs-for-cash re­port found had been cap­tured by Sadtu.

BRING­ING IN EX­PERTS Angie Mot­shekga

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