EE denies Motshekga claims

2013-06-19 20:10
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga (Picture: City Press)

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga (Picture: City Press)

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Johannesburg - Equal Education (EE) has denied claims by the basic education department that it was imposing impossible deadlines for the norms and standards for school infrastructure.

"All the deadlines EE asks the [department] to uphold were agreed to by the minister in a November 2012 settlement agreement which was noted by the high court," it said in a statement on Wednesday.

EE said the settlement timelines were proposed by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga's legal team.

"The timeline required the minister to consult the public and promulgate final and binding norms and standards by 15 May 2013," it said.

EE said Motshekga requested an extension for publication of the norms and standards on 9 May.

"EE granted a one month extension. Now the minister requests 'at least' another six months. EE cannot agree to this."

Last week, EE said it was taking Motshekga to court for allegedly breaching an agreement to publish the document by 15 May. The matter was expected to be heard in the Bhisho High Court on 11 July.

Motshekga said on Tuesday a re-draft of the norms and standards would take at least six months to complete. She said she had been communicating with EE to update it on progress made.

In a 9 May letter she indicated the compulsory consultation process at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) had not been concluded. When she received its report, she would consider all recommendations.

Nedlac won't delay

"It is important to emphasise that norms and standards cannot be published at the whim of EE," said Motshekga.

EE said it had a copy of a letter Nedlac wrote to the department in which it wrote: "It is not the intention of Nedlac constituents to delay the promulgation of the norms and standards."

As from July, the department claimed it would open one school per week in the Eastern Cape, in addition to several other schools opened in Mthatha in the past three months.

Motshekga said: "Equal Education will not be brave enough to acknowledge this, or any progress we make on a daily basis regarding school infrastructure".

EE said the department's accelerated school infrastructure delivery initiative program promised to have built 100 new schools by March 2013. According to the latest report to Parliament only 17 had been built.

"EE celebrates each new school the [department] opens, and even took a recent delegation of high profile South Africans to see one of these new schools," it said.

"But the problem is being addressed too slowly, and one of the reasons is that there are no binding norms and standards."

EE has in the last few days mobilised pupils in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, and Pretoria to participate in marches. The pupils demanded that Motshekga publish the norms and standards, and called for safer and better resourced schools.

Read more on:    equal education  |  angie motshekga  |  east london  |  service delivery  |  education

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