Education overhaul needed, says Zille

2012-09-17 19:36

Johannesburg - An education overhaul is needed to overcome social inequalities inherited from apartheid, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said on Monday.

"So long as our deep, deep inequalities in education still exist, we will never redress the economic injustices of apartheid. Simple as that," Zille said in a speech prepared for delivery at the University of Cape Town.

Government had damaged the education system by implementing curriculum innovations which had failed in other more advanced countries.

It had also lost some of the most experienced teachers through voluntary severance packages.

"Having destabilised the system so profoundly, we should not be surprised that pouring money into it did nothing to improve outcomes," she said.

While money was important, good management and corruption-free administration were necessary to ensure it was used wisely.

"At the moment, our divided economy leaves millions of people feeling like democracy has left them behind. They are increasingly angry, and it is beginning to test the limits of our social harmony, with some violent and tragic results."

Zille took a swipe at South Africa's labour law on the matter of dominant unions.

"To go further, we will need to deal with the monopoly power that the ironically named SA Democratic Teachers' Union exercises over the system," Zille said.

At present, whichever union represented more than half of staff members was the only recognised union. As such, it represented all the employees, including members of other unions.

"It is like saying that if the ANC won 51% of the vote, all other parties would cease to exist and the ANC would become the only party in Parliament, filling every seat," Zille said.

"In that context, every one of us would recognise it as an unacceptable one-party state, but we accept the same situation in our labour law. It is absurd."

  • deicide - 2012-09-17 19:41


      lacrimosewolf - 2012-09-17 23:40

      But it was the stated objective, from the outset, to reduce the education system to the lowest common denominator. As a means to correct the inequalities of the past. So in this arena they've not only attained but over-shot their goal. Doing 30% of the work is now an entrenched culture - from Gr0 --> Parliament

  • mknnko003 - 2012-09-17 19:50

    She should have said, the party System is not working for South Africa at large, every party represent their interest than the public, it should be scrapped!

      PointBlank - 2012-09-17 20:03

      Yes, the ANC is so busy fighting itself over who makes the decisions, who holds the power, who has the best friends, who has the most blue lights, who has the highest rank, that they are in woeful denial that South Africa is falling apart.

  • AlexWallerSA - 2012-09-17 19:52

    I'm glad someone is talking some sense. She's actually addressing the problem correctly, rather than saying "your CEO is not black, we will not do business with you."

  • PointBlank - 2012-09-17 19:56

    Spot on Zille

  • Martin522 - 2012-09-17 20:08

    Maybe if the education system is working better, people can learn and accept that you do not get everything for free. If the education system is working, people will learn that strike is not the answer, and that IF you do get a proper education you can EARN that nice salary without wanting it for free.

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-09-17 20:13

    Helen you are so right. I attended an all white primary school. I recently taught at the school which now has more than 80 percent black pupils. It is managed by women and a multiracial staff compliment and governing body. They have a waiting list of children who want to attend the school. It is going from strength to strength. The children are well disciplined and achieve very good results. Crestview primary in Johannesburg is a role model school for government schools. I am so proud of them and the calibre of children they produce for our society.

      jeremy.forbes.1293 - 2012-09-17 22:08

      This is becoming more common across SA, it is the one hope we have for a common future. Recent figures indicate that more than 52% of children in formerly white schools are black african. To say nothing of the Private schools, government figures of 2011 indicate in excess of 500 000 African children in Private Schools. This is our future, our leaders will come from these impressive pupils who have been taught the values of a common humanity.

  • lynda.pitcher.1 - 2012-09-17 20:17

    Education is the backbone of the wonder we have an increasingly crippled society and economy

  • francois.olivier.108 - 2012-09-17 20:32

    yap yap yap. That is all the DA can do. Why not come with a solution for a change. Then maybe people will take you seriously and vote for you.

      Duncan Mor - 2012-09-17 20:42

      The solution is education. There is no quick fix. To properly educate the disadvantaged will take years. But if we had started this 18 years ago we would have had a much better educated population today that would have been creating jobs and have been employable

      jean.tredoux.5 - 2012-09-17 20:47

      What do you think the DA is doing?! Their working with the pathetic education system the anc provides and so far making some success of it. The DA is just pointing out the problems so that people are aware where the faults are. Let them bitch other wise you would just accept how everything is going in this country.

      Billy - 2012-09-18 02:16

      LOL!, this IS the solution. oh and how many new schools are the DA building? 72 or sumin?

      danita.renecle - 2012-09-18 07:30

      Google WCED (western cape education department) media releases 2012. Khayalitsha school came in at number 9 as one of the top ten schools in WC. The formation of special maths science and technology schools is fantastic. They have telematics teaching, using interactive satellite teaching using the best teachers for the poorer performing schools. They even give practical training for students learning trades by employing them when they have to do practical work during the 6month practical break. ie 6months theory and six month practicals. This year two Technical High schools openend its doors one in De Noon informal settlement.

      nads.delange - 2012-09-18 08:52

      Francois, people are voting for them, they are the only party in SA who grew in support in the national and provincial and municipal elections.

      rontheogre - 2012-09-18 10:45

      She has and it is public knowledge, but unacceptable to the ANC because education empowers people and makes them better qualified than many in government, including ZUMA.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-09-18 12:03

      francois just went full retard..

      francois.olivier.108 - 2012-09-18 23:43

      @PointBlank. Hahaha.You are quite funny. I suppose your point is that your brain has gone completely blank. No wonder you are hiding behind a bush. At everyone else. Thank you for your input.

  • Bongiwe Bongie Mabongz Dlutu - 2012-09-17 20:34 Helen's target are teachers...awch politics..

      jean.tredoux.5 - 2012-09-17 21:19

      Lucky for you your stupidity can be blamed on our education system...

      blip.noodlum - 2012-09-17 21:41

      Reading comporehension? FAILED. Bong, bong, bong-iwe-heh-heh....

      dane.jenkinson - 2012-09-18 08:37

      @Bongiwe Bongie Mabongz Dlutu.......I think you just proved her point.

  • Johnson - 2012-09-17 20:37

    It is wrong to tax a working person almost to the breaking point, then give it to a person who is able to work, but refuses to

  • amanda - 2012-09-17 20:40

    Excuse me Helen, with all due respect to you, Apartheid cannot be blamed on the ruling party's inability after 18 years I believe it is - since transition, to provide a decent education for all its citizens, regardless of their race. 18 years Helen, is a long time for this Government to have got their act together. If the ANC had, then we would not be presently needing Economic Equity and therefore social inequalities would not even exist. But Unfortunately this is AFRICA, so we live with it.

  • Johnson - 2012-09-17 20:44

    Then you also have to deliver the text books ;))))) you did not add that - no matter what system you use without text books the system can work - perhaps they should start using E Books, its for life and you can add what ever book you need and delivery will not be a problem - CD is all you need will cut out millions in corruption.

  • jeremy.forbes.1293 - 2012-09-17 22:04

    Give every parent a voucher per child which they are free to use at any school in SA. The voucher will be equavalent to the sum of money the state pays to educate a child plus a little more. Parents would be free to choose the school of their choice. It will once and for all rid us of SADTU and poor schools. This policy is already common practice in India and Brazil, our BRICS partners. Time is running out, we need to act now.

  • Billy - 2012-09-18 02:14

    she is 1000% correct. education is THE foundation to success of society. get education right FIRST, then worry about BEE or AA or what ever, in actual fact, BEE and AA wouldnt even be needed if the inequalities of education was sorted out first. and no, lowering everyone to be the same level of dumb is not the right answer. make everyone smart on the same level is the correct answer.

  • brionyl.french - 2012-09-18 05:25


  • nolan.v.vuuren - 2012-09-18 05:59

    Dmn right..we should start by cutting the number of vacations we have in school.

  • sisie.indola - 2012-09-18 06:59

    Go back to the basics - instead of trying all these so called systems that have failed worldwide, just go back to the basic system of education - simple - maths, english, geography, history, science, hygiene, PT, religion (all) what is so hard about that? And go back to the Teacher Training Colleges.

  • ashton.bieske.9 - 2012-09-18 08:18

    Education overhaul?? More like a country and government overhaul!!!

  • marc.klynhans - 2012-09-18 08:43

    Dear Helen Zille, You give us hope.

  • flysouth - 2012-09-18 11:52

    With the massive amounts of money spent each year over 18 years on education the entire system could and should by now be functioning to perfection, and every pupil should be accommodated in a well-built modern school with all amenities. But what do we have? A total melt-down of education and facilities falling apart. We are seeing the effect on young people of the lack of education in the likes of the miner's strikes - these are in many cases the very same people who have not had an education, and they believe that a 300% increase in wages is a reasonable demand - and will kill to get it! Education would have told them it is not reasonable and would have helped them understand how the world works and how they take their place in it without killing! Yet another generation of ignoramuses has been created. We simply cannot continue creating such people with such ignorance and such deficencies in their thinking and reasoning abilities. This is extremely dangerous for the present and future of SA.

  • aphiwe.boyce - 2012-09-28 09:51

    Is this what the DA is doing in the Western Cape by closing 27 'poor' schools? if this is the way to go then her plans are are only meant for the haves nothing for the poor

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