and had planned to tighten security, but then the classes burnt down.
Eastern Cape Education MEC Mandla Makupula only responded after last month’s protest march by parents to Premier Phumulo Masualle’s office.
He visited the school last week and again promised temporary classrooms, but they haven’t arrived. Mrwashu says they would have provided some relief and comfort before the matric exams. This week, City Press found matrics writing their exams in a single garage, while pupils from lower grades were squashed inside another garage and smaller offices. Mrwashu said the school would be forced to seat pupils from the lower grades in the same classroom during their exams. School governing body chairperson Mzodumo Mrara said Makupula was more concerned about who among the teaching staff participated in the parents’ march to the premier’s office. “The office of the premier phoned him and he jumped and threatened teachers, wanting to know why they went to the premier,” he said, adding that parents assured him the march was their own initiative and teachers were only there to provide details should the premier’s office ask for any. “It’s a pathetic situation we are in. The department keeps on saying this school was not built on government land, but this is municipal property and the municipality is not bothered about the presence of the school on its property,” he said.
Mrara said parents wanted to find a way of providing temporary classrooms, but Makupula insisted the department would provide them.
The Eastern Cape’s class of 2016 already performed poorly during their midyear exams, dropping from a 51% pass rate last year during the same period to 44.9% this year.
As matrics sat for their exams last week, indications were that provincial authorities had done enough to thwart Motshekga’s intervention that had hoped to push the province’s pass rate to 70%. Makupula and the department failed to respond to questions.
Motshekga had hoped to turn the tide by instituting stringent financial controls and fasttracking infrastructure provision and learning materials to schools.
But her attempts to place the provincial department under administration ended up in a political storm – mainly over its R69.5 billion budget.
An affidavit filed by Eastern Cape director-general Marion Mbina-Mthembu in the Grahamstown High Court in August confirmed the province’s resistance to Motshekga’s intervention.
Mbina-Mthembu detailed the battle between the province and Motshekga and stated that, as the head of the provincial treasury, she refused to hand over her duties to then national intervention team leader Ray Tywakadi.
Mbina-Mthembu filed the affidavit in support of an application by acting education head Sizakele Netshilaphala, who is fighting the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union in court over the allocation of teaching jobs and redeployment of teachers this year.