Power cuts: MEC slams schools bod­ies

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - BALD­WIN ND­ABA

GAUT­ENG Ed­u­ca­tion MEC Panyaza Le­sufi has blamed some school gov­ern­ing bod­ies for the dis­con­nec­tion of elec­tric­ity to var­i­ous schools in Tsh­wane.

He blamed the SGBs while he was re­spond­ing to the DA’s Adri­ana Ran­dall’s ques­tion whether the elec­tric­ity cuts had had any ef­fect on the nor­mal teach­ing and learn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in those schools.

Le­sufi told the Gaut­eng leg­is­la­ture that the cuts had not dis­rupted learn­ing much. He said the dis­con­nec­tions were due to the fail­ure of SGBs to pay mu­nic­i­pal rates and ser­vices to the Tsh­wane metro coun­cil.

About three weeks ago, The Star’s sis­ter pa­per, the Pre­to­ria News, re­ported that the coun­cil was plan­ning to cut gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, em­bassies, schools, busi­nesses, pri­vate res­i­dences, and the homes of coun­cil­lors and mu­nic­i­pal staff that were owing it more than R6.6 bil­lion in un­paid mu­nic­i­pal bills.

Tsh­wane city man­ager Ja­son Ngob­eni said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had made sev­eral pleas to the de­fault­ers, in­clud­ing schools, to pay, but th­ese had fallen on deaf ears.

They had started dis­con­nect­ing 38 of the de­fault­ing 140 schools in the area, he said. The schools owed the coun­cil R21 mil­lion col­lec­tively.

Le­sufi said his depart­ment was in ne­go­ti­a­tions with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to de­ter­mine ex­actly how much the schools owed the coun­cil.

His re­sponse drew laugh­ter from DA mem­bers, par­tic­u­larly their leader, Mike Mo­ri­arty.

Mo­ri­arty told Le­sufi “wel­come to the club of in­cor­rect billing by mu­nic­i­pal­ity”.

He asked Le­sufi to take over the con­trol of fi­nan­cial bud­get­ing from SGBs, but the ed­u­ca­tion MEC de­clined.

Le­sufi said that what was needed was not to pun­ish th­ese SGBs, but to give them proper con­trol in the han­dling of fi­nances.

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