Minister must release urgent funding to Limpopo schools
Donald Smiles, DA Deputy Spokesperson on Basic Education
18 January 2012
Schools in Limpopo face a funding crisis that could result in them not being able to cover their basic operational costs, including electricity bills.
This is according to official briefings I have received from senior district and provincial managers as part of the oversight visit I am currently conducting in the province with Parliament’s basic education portfolio committee. Schools I have visited across a number of the province’s districts have confirmed the crisis.
The information I have received is:
• Instead of a planned transfer of R600 million to Section 21 schools for operations, just R293 million was transferred in May last year;
• A second tranche of funding is now required to fund basic operations;
• This is leading to an operational crisis in schools because they are unable to do basic things like pay electricity bills, purchase stationery to photocopy worksheets or conduct urgent maintenance.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) will today be writing to the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, calling on her to release emergency funds to these schools so that they can pay their electricity bills and keep their operations running.
The Minister was wrong when she went on national television to say that “there is no crisis in the Educational Department of Limpopo”. In reality, it is facing a crisis of extreme proportions.
When schools do not have money to pay for electricity, it is not just a financial problem but an educational one. And when this threatens to place learners in the dark, then that problem is actually a crisis.
Administrators, teachers and principals have all painted a grim image of their schools’ ability to function.
The financial and administrative chaos that spurred the national Department of Basic Education to take control of the provincial education department has yet to be turned around. The province still has not ordered any textbooks for its Grades 1-3 and Grade 10 learners, who are supposed to be starting a new curriculum this year. They face the prospect of falling far behind their peers in the other provinces.
The DA calls on the Minister to make sure that all Limpopo schools have enough money to pay their electricity bills so that no child is left behind in the darkness.