The response by Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, to the revelation that 78% of Grade 4 learners are illiterate is shocking, to say the least. The provision of quality basic education is necessary for post-school education and the fact that so many learners have not grasped vital reading skills is concerning.
The DA has requested that Minister Motshekga appoint a panel to investigate the causes behind the high illiteracy rate, but was told to raise our concerns through the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education.
DA MPs, as part of the Official Opposition, have a constitutional duty to hold the governing party accountable and Motshekga’s reply to our request appears to be a refusal by her to account as the Basic Education minister. There is no basis in law for this refusal. MPs are empowered to exercise oversight and do not require permission slips or assistance from chairpersons. Motshekga’s failure to engage with us is disingenuous and cowardly.
South Africa has been ranked last out of 50 countries that participated in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, yet there seems to be no plan in place to address this.
Our children continue to be robbed of bright futures under an uncaring ANC government. The refusal by the governing party to address the lack of basic infrastructure at schools and underqualified teachers will only see the figure of 9.4 million unemployed South Africans rise dramatically.