Motshekga takes full control of Eastern Cape education

2012-04-25 15:43

Cabinet’s intervention into basic education in the crisis-stricken Eastern Cape was given impetus when Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced she was taking full control of turning the ailing department around.

At a press briefing held at East London’s Education Leadership Institute today, Motshekga announced a three-person intervention team, to be led by career educationalist Ray Tywakadi, to oversee implementation of a turnaround plan.

This was as per a Cabinet decision, as well as a recent court order, she said.

Grahamstown NGO Save Our Schools and Community (Sosac) and the Catholic Institute of Education (CIE) wanted the courts to determine whether government was fully implementing the constitutional takeover, and if not, compel it to do so.

Provincial government, which had been resisting full takeover were made to see the light, she said.

“We agreed on roles the different spheres of government will play ... Section 100 1(b) (of the Constitution) says the minister takes authority over the running of the department, there’s no ambiguity about it,” said Motshekga.

“We helped the province understand this, and fortunately we had a province in Limpopo which quickly understood what Section 100 is about, and we could use that example here.”

Motshekga added that teams from her department, Public Service and Administration, National Treasury, Higher Education, and Justice and Constitutional Development had met today to set in motion a processes for the full implementation of the intervention. This followed yesterday’s
meeting between her and Premier Noxolo Kiviet.

“All teams were introduced and the frame of work, time frames, and expected outcomes were outlined to the officials of the national and provincial intervention teams, including the senior management of the Eastern Cape department of education. The teams were given 14 days to provide the minister with a detailed action plan,” she said.

Areas of intervention would remain the same: scholar transport, infrastructure, school nutrition, finances, and learner attainment.

MEC Mandla Makupula and his department would look after the rest of the normal functions and monitoring outside of the core areas, she said.

Other members of Tywakadi’s team would include Phillip Benade and Dr Anis Karodia, who is currently head of government’s intervention into education in Limpopo. The Eastern Cape would get to appoint its own person on this team, she added.

Motshekga’s visit and announcement comes hot on the heels of the removal of former head of department Modidima Mannya, for his role in the power tussle between the province and Motshekga.

Education in the Eastern Cape is still in a state of chaos as the issue of teacher vacancies have not been resolved. Textbooks and other stationery have not been delivered to some schools and scholar transport providers are yet to be paid.

Motshekga said the unstable and corruption-ridden provincial department would only get its powers back if it scored a 70% matric pass rate, achieved a clean audit and achieved stability in administration.

Ironically Tywakadi was runner-up to Mthunywa Ngonzo, a man rumoured to be the province’s choice for department head, in the final round of interviews where Mannya was appointed.

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