Motshekga: Re-draft will take 6 months

2013-06-18 22:31
Angie Motshekga (Picture: Beeld)

Angie Motshekga (Picture: Beeld)

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Johannesburg - A re-draft of the norms and standards for school infrastructure will take at least six months to complete, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Tuesday.

Last week, the Equal Education (EE) group said it was taking her to court for allegedly breaching an agreement to publish the document by 15 May. The matter was to be heard in the Bhisho High Court on 11 July.

On Tuesday, Motshekga said she has been communicating with EE to update it on progress with the norms and standards.

She wrote it a letter on 9 May in which she indicated that the compulsory consultation process with the National Economic Development and Labour Council had not been concluded. When she received its report, she would consider all recommendations.

"It is important to emphasise that norms and standards cannot be published at the whim of EE," said Motshekga.

"The South African government is a democracy that requires all involved and interested in education to have ample time to make input to the final regulations," she said.

Motshekga accused the EE of being disingenuous. She questioned the group's sudden interest in the education of African children.

"...To suddenly see a group of white adults organising black African children with half-truths can only be opportunistic, patronising and simply dishonest to say the least," she said.

The EE said it was shocked and disappointed by Motshekga's comments.

EE chairperson Yoliswa Dwane said Motshekga should distance herself from these statements, which it viewed as racist.

"EE consists of people of every background and we are very proud of this. Any person who commits [themselves] to advancing the daily struggles of poor and working class youth is welcome in EE," said Dwane.

"That these values exist is something that those responsible for education should celebrate, not attack."

The EE has in the last few days mobilised school children in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria to participate in marches.

The children demanded that Motshekga publish the norms and standards, and called for safer and better resourced schools.

On Tuesday, a Grade 11 pupil from an Eastern Cape school took Motshekga, the Eastern Cape education MEC, her school principal, and school governing body to the Bhisho Magistrate's Court about the condition of her school.

Palesa Manyokole, of the Moshesh Senior Secondary School in Queen's Mercy, complained that the principal was often absent and unlawfully expelled pupils; teachers were absent and late; there was a shortage of qualified teachers; and there was no curriculum planning.

The matter was postponed to 22 October.

Basic education spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi said the department would appear in court if it received a notice.

"We believe this case is part of the gimmick of the EE to embarrass the department," he said.

As from July, the basic education department claimed it would open one school per week in the Eastern Cape. These are an addition to several other schools opened in Mthatha in the last three months.

These former mud structures reportedly all have early childhood development facilities, administration blocks, soup kitchens, ablution blocks, water and electricity,

"Equal Education will not be brave enough to acknowledge this, or any progress we make on a daily basis regarding school infrastructure," said Motshekga.

- SAPA
Read more on:    equal education  |  angie motshekga  |  east london  |  education
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