Power cuts: MEC slams schools bodies
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.