Zuma considers Eastern Cape education crisis

2011-02-17 14:26

Government is considering intervening in the Eastern Cape, where education was experiencing serious problems, President Jacob Zuma said today.

Responding in the National Assembly to points raised during debate on his state of the nation address, Zuma said he had been comprehensively briefed by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and her deputy Enver Surty, who visited the province recently.

“I am seriously considering a sustainable intervention for the Eastern Cape,” Zuma said.

“We are concerned that the contracts of over 4 000 temporary teachers have been terminated, resulting in many schools facing shortages of teachers.”

The pupil and teacher support materials had not been adequately delivered, leading to a situation where there were pupils without textbooks.

The school nutrition programme had collapsed and scholar transport came to a total halt in many areas.

“As of now, the Triple T call to prioritise teachers, textbooks and time, cannot be implemented in the Eastern Cape.

“Any intervention will occur with the full knowledge, approval and co-operation of the premier of the Eastern Cape and the MEC for education in the province.

“It will be designed to assist the province to effectively administer education,” Zuma said.

On Tuesday, Independent Democrats parliamentary leader Joe Mcgluwa told the House that the Eastern Cape education department, among other things, overspent by R624.5 million on compensation of employees at the end of September 2010.

It was projected that overspending on compensation of employees for the whole financial year would be a staggering R1.952 billion, he said.

A total of R17.372 billion was budgeted for personnel spending, which represented 76.6% of the total budget for the department of R22.680 billion for the 2010/11 financial year.

“One of the main reasons for the overexpenditure was irregular salary increases given to office-based educators in 2009, which has pushed up the average employee cost,” he said.

The provincial education department recently terminated more than 4 000 temporary teachers’ contracts because of a financial crisis.
It had also suspended its pupil transport programme due to financial constraints.

“Mr President, your rhetorical commitments are commendable, but what we and our students need now is action,” Mcgluwa said.

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