Fedsas seeks probe into Free State education dept's failure to pay money to schools

2018-01-19 05:54
(File, Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(File, Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Bloemfontein - The Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (Fedsas) on Thursday said it would ask the South African Human Rights Commission to investigate the Free State education department’s "repeated failure" to make payments to public schools.

"In addition, Fedsas has instructed its lawyer to write a letter of demand to the Free State education department to demand that payments be made within two weeks. If not, Fedsas will approach the High Court," deputy CEO Jaco Deacon said in a statement.

"Every year without exception, schools in the Free State start the new school year without money for expenses, such as water, electricity and stationery. Provincial education departments are responsible to pay over this money from the National Treasury twice a year, but this does not happen in the Free State."

He also accused the department of "dragging its feet" with the appointment of a number of principals and teachers.

"The excellent performance of the province’s matriculants was celebrated on a grand scale by the [department]. However, the department’s share in this success is extremely limited.

"In most instances, officials are failing children in public schools by withholding from them even the most basic necessities such as access to drinking water, toilet facilities and teachers."

The federation said it had been trying "for years" to address the issue directly with the department.

"However, all our efforts have come to nothing. Schools often have to use the little money they do have to pay legal fees in order to force the department to make the payments.

" This is why Fedsas, on behalf of parents and learners in the Free State, has decided to ask the Human Rights Commission to investigate this matter.

"At the same time the Public Protector will be approached to try and get answers as to why the provincial department repeatedly fails to pay the money from the National Treasury to schools before the deadline. The money does not belong to the department – its only function is to pay the money over to schools. This raises the question as to where this money is."

Deacon said the federation would hand in documentation to both the HRC and the Public Protector in Bloemfontein on Friday.

Despite attempts, News24 was unable to reach the Free State education department's spokesperson Howard Ndaba.

Read more on:    fedsas  |  bloemfontein  |  education

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