Education before Mangaung politics

2012-01-28 11:30

As Bhisho was burning this week, politicians were playing the fiddle, hoping that the Eastern Cape education ­crisis would disappear so they could resume doing more important things.

These important things are, of course, plotting ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in ­Mangaung in December – seemingly the only event at the top of our leaders’ minds this year.

Instead of focusing all the Eastern Cape’s ­resources and energy on immediately fixing the schools’ crisis, the province’s bigwigs – including Premier Noxolo Kiviet – were debating the ­political fallout that would follow the removal of department head Modidima Mannya.

The unions, bolstered by Cosatu boss ­Zwelinzima Vavi, are calling for Mannya’s head, while Kiviet and her lackeys are rallying around him – not because he is competent, but because he is an important player in the sought-after province on the road to Mangaung.

What a shame. The children of the Eastern Cape don’t have books, transport or food, but the man ultimately responsible for their fate is ­clinging to his job because of his influence.

Lest we forget it was President Jacob Zuma himself who reinstated Mannya’s powers last year after he was given the boot by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Motshekga and her deputy, Enver Surty, took over the administration of the department, which had been failing the children of the province for years.

After suspending Mannya, the department and provincial ANC leaders kicked up a fuss and ­Zuma intervened, leading to the reinstatement of a man clearly unfit to do his job.

This week Motshekga reiterated that she would have preferred Mannya to be booted out, but in all likelihood this will not happen. Why? Because he is an important cog in Zuma’s wheel to be ­re-elected ANC president in Mangaung.

The fact that Mannya is still in his job will ­reinforce the view that Zuma is using provincial ­interventions for political gain and not to improve service delivery. How else does one explain ­retaining a man who has just presided over a ­disclaimer audit opinion by the Auditor-General?

In his last audit report, the Auditor-General noted: “Senior management at this department is not committed to addressing basic control issues and instilling financial discipline, which is ­evidenced by the increase in the number of ­findings over the past number of years, leaving the department exposed to fraud and corruption.”

The children of the Eastern Cape are bearing the brunt of years of maladministration by Mannya and his predecessors. Letting him go would be a good first step towards cleaning up this mess.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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 network.


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.