Angie Motshekga’s ‘unlikely defender’: Helen Zille

2013-07-17 09:06

Embattled education minister Angie Motshekga received support from an unlikely source last night – DA leader Helen Zille.

Zille told a packed meeting of the DA Young Professionals forum in Rosebank last night that she’s an “unlikely defender” of Motshekga, because under Motshekga the real problems leading to poor education results in South Africa were diagnosed.

“The past 20 years have been characterised by a misdiagnosis of education,” Zille said.

A recent report, produced by the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit and commissioned by Motshekga, found poor discipline to be the cause of the failure of pupils.

“The recent NEEDU report by Nick Taylor found that teachers either can’t or won’t teach the children,” she said.

The report was released in May, but was not covered well because it came in the midst of the Gupta landing scandal.

Zille said no other minister before Motshekga was willing to provide the space for such a report to be produced. The minister also had little control over what happened in the department. Zille said Motshekga had worked hard to get teacher distribution right in the Eastern Cape, but she was undermined by teacher union Sadtu.

“The unions think they are in charge,” Zille said. President Jacob Zuma chose to support Sadtu instead, Zille said, because he had needed the support of Cosatu to get re-elected as ANC president in Mangaung in December last year.

“An education minister actually doesn’t have much power over her department. I was an education MEC (in the Western Cape) before, so I know,” Zille said. “Angie has backed us in getting teaching right.”

Zille also commented on the report in City Press on Sunday that an NGO headed by Zuma and run by his cousin Deebo Mzobe would be responsible for co-ordinating government’s new food security programme, for which R895 million was pledged by government departments.

She said this was a way of using taxpayers’ money to hand over “food parcels” in the run-up to the elections, something that could amount to patronage and corruption.

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