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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.

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