Empty promises

2009-03-03 00:00

McCARTHY Primary School in Tamboville operates in run-down, overcrowded tin classrooms, serving some 600 children from severely disadvantaged backgrounds. Five years ago, during the 2004 election campaign, while on the campaign trail in Pietermaritzburg, Thabo Mbeki was made aware of the situation and sent the then acting MEC for Education to investigate. He soon handed over to current Education MEC Ina Cronjé, who made all the right noises.

Five years later, however, little has happened — as illustrated by photographs in The Witness yesterday. New classrooms have been started but now stand half-built behind a fence surrounded by weeds. The contractor, we are told, “had encountered some problems”.

One understands that education is an enormous portfolio and that the MEC cannot do everything or be everywhere herself. But one does expect that when MECs make promises, someone needs to be tasked with following up and reporting back. It is instances like these which give politicians a bad name and which, in recent months, have been at least partly responsible for the fragmentation of the ruling party.

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