Cosatu asks Public Protector to probe MEC

2011-07-12 07:12

Cosatu has asked the Public Protector to investigate the 2009 appointment of Western Cape education MEC Donald Grant as a case of “corrupt cadre deployment” by the DA, provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said today.

“This is a clear indication of cadre appointments gone wrong, where people are appointed for political favours, and have no experience in the area and demonstrate an astonishing level of incompetence after two years in the position,” said Ehrenreich, an ANC city councillor.

The DA dismissed Ehrenreich’s statements as “blatant lies”, and said figures showed the party had managed to improve pass rates and underperforming schools.

Ehrenreich claimed that by giving Grant the job, Premier Helen Zille had put at risk the future of school pupils in the province, particularly those in poor township schools.

Grant had failed to formulate a policy that would ensure more teachers were deployed in townships and done nothing to tackle poor learner results in the province, he said.

Helen Zille’s spokeswoman, Trace Venter, said Grant had unveiled a “comprehensive strategic plan” for education in November 2009, seven months after assuming office, which was available on the CapeGateway website.

Nor, according to Ehrenreich, had the MEC considered “the disastrous impact” of budget cuts on special-needs schools that resulted in transport becoming the sole responsibility of parents, disadvantaging the poor.

Ehrenreich said Grant had acknowledged “he knew nothing about education” when he was appointed to Zille’s provincial Cabinet two years ago and had apparently done nothing to remedy the situation.

“The Public Protector should investigate whether he is a suitably fit person for the job,” he said.

If not, he added, she should order the provincial government to appoint a competent MEC to the position.

According to Venter, the DA had managed to reverse negative trends seen when the ANC governed the province.

“We have arrested a six-year decline in the matric pass rate in the province, with more learners having passed the 2010 National Senior Certificate exams than ever before.”

Between 2006 and 2009, the number of schools with a matric pass rate of less than 60% increased from 36 to 85. In 2010 this was reduced to 78.

Ehrenreich said he would encourage colleagues in Cosatu to take similar steps against incompetent MECs in other provinces, regardless of party affiliation.

Venter said Ehrenreich should focus on “real problems”, such as teachers’ union Sadtu, and its opposition to holding underperforming teachers accountable through performance agreements.

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