‘Stop whining and do something,’ dept told

2014-07-12 00:00

THE KZN Finance Committee is tired of hearing the same old sob story from the Education Department that they are under-funded, ­Finance chairperson Sipho “KK” Nkosi told senior education officials at the budget hearing yesterday.

“We agree you are under-funded but how are you dealing with it going forward?” he asked.

Nkosi did not mince his words as he told departmental representatives that the committee was aware of a stand-off between the Education Department and Treasury.

“The headcount is the bone of contention between you and Treasury,” he added.

The Witness has previously reported that the KZN Treasury had done a headcount in all departments in the province. In Education it claimed it had discovered the alleged existence of about 22 000 ghost teachers that cost it R105 million. However, the Education Department disputed these figures and provincial Education head Nkosinathi Sishi said yesterday that there were investigations since the Treasury count that concluded there were no ghost teachers.

However, Nkosi and his committee were not buying this. He told officials that they were not giving details on how the count was carried out and how they arrived at their figures and conclusions.

The hearing concluded with the committee saying it would mediate in the stand-off between Education and Treasury. Nkosi urged Education to do its headcount and his committee would be setting timeframes on when it wanted a report back.

Nkosi said the headcount would also settle the dispute between both departments. Treasury believes that Education is underfunded by R900 million. However, Education believes that it is being short-changed by R1,3 billion.

The Finance Committee also queried underspending to the tune of R37 million by the Education ­Department and requested a list of investigations carried out in the department and their status.

“We cannot claim to be or masquerade as public representative if we fail to account for each rand that is spent …” he told the officials.

• At the hearing, Education HOD Nkosinathi Sishi said the department had a budget of close to R40 billion. It also had more than 100 000 employees and was the department with the highest number of employees other than the National Defence Force.

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