Ministers’ private schools mystery

2012-09-02 19:00
School shoes (Shutterstock)

School shoes (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - “Get lost!”

That’s the overwhelming response from South Africa’s top elected leaders when asked if their children go to state or private schools.

Media24 Investigations sent questions to President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, the 33 national Cabinet ministers, their deputies, 9 education MECs and 400 MPs asking them if they sent their children to private or public schools.

The only Cabinet minister who responded was embattled Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, who revealed that her child went to a private school.

Cosatu said it was “unfortunate” that Cabinet ministers would not reveal these details.

“The only conclusion I can make is that their kids are in private schools,” said labour federation Cosatu’s spokesperson Patrick Craven. “It shows they don’t have much faith in their public institutions.

"Our public schools should be of such a high standard that ministers would want their children to go there.”

Media24 Investigations' questions were prompted by the national debate on the ­quality of public education.

Spin doctors

Knowing where South Africa’s elected political leaders educated their children indicates their confidence in the system for which they oversee policy and budgets, and which is currently responsible for educating 12.2 million children.

But government’s spin doctors stepped in to stop ministers from replying.

The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) advised ministers and deputy ministers not to respond.

“It is not a matter of public interest,” said the GCIS’s acting chief executive, Phumla Williams, when asked why they had advised ministers against responding.

Motshekga said her only son was in a private school, but later clarified this, saying he is a second-year student at the University of Johannesburg.

Motshekga has been basic education minister since 2009. Before that, she was the MEC for education in Gauteng.

Fourteen ministers formally refused to provide details of their children’s schooling after the GCIS’s advice, and the rest didn’t respond.

They were given more than three weeks to address the questions.

'Hypocrites'

Doron Isaacs, the co-ordinator of advocacy group Equal Education, said political leaders were “hypocrites” for defending a system they themselves seemed to avoid.

He called on political leaders to choose public schools for their children.

“I think if Minister Motshekga was trusted to improve the quality of education in public schools, it would matter less that her children are in private schools.

“Unfortunately, the public no longer trusts her. On textbooks and school infrastructure standards, she has failed.

“She has seemed aloof and lacking in empathy. Therefore, that her children are not in the public schooling system will anger many,” he said.

South African Democratic Teachers’ Union general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said that those who served the public should use public services.

The union did not believe in private education.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said he had discussed the questionnaire with his legal team and said that it was his “constitutional right” not to divulge any information.

'State doesn't pay'


Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said he didn’t understand why the information should be public.

Zuma didn’t respond and Motlanthe refused to participate.

Williams said government had “applied its mind” to the matter, and that the matter doesn’t fall within the “purview” of the state because the state doesn’t pay the school fees of ministers’ and deputy ministers’ children.

Craven said that although public office bearers had a right to privacy, the public had a right to know how they regarded public institutions like schools and hospitals.

Derek Luyt, the media and advocacy head at the Public Service Accountability Monitor, said it was reasonable to want to know where elected political officers sent their children to school.

But he cautioned that if politicians sent their children to private schools, this did not mean it was a blanket vote of no confidence in public schools.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  equal education  |  samwu  |  jacob zuma  |  angie motshekga  |  collins chabane  |  kgalema motlanthe  |  nathi mthethwa  |  education
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
102 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Motoring
 

Thirty and still single? There’s hope!

Are you thirty and still single, without even a hint of a prospect on the horizon? Then read this!

 
 

Men24.com

SA’s Playboy Playmate of the year in action!
12 lies everyone accepts as fact
Hottie of the day: Charlotte
Breakup text goes viral and it’s hilarious!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

Good Morning, Mr Mandela by Zelda la Grange

Good Morning, Mr Mandela tells the extraordinary story of how a young woman had her life, beliefs, prejudices and everything she once believed in utterly transformed by the greatest man of her time. Now R221. Pre-order now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It may be hard to stay cool, calm and collected. Your emotions can get quite heated in the moment. You may benefit from finding a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.