South African schools need teachers, textbooks and toilets – not tablets

Issued by Nomsa Marchesi MP – DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education
13 Feb 2019 in News

The following speech was delivered on the second day of Parliament’s debate of the 2019 State of the Nation Address.

When the curtain falls on the one-party reign of the ANC, the measure of the government it has run will be how it treated the most vulnerable of South Africa’s citizens.

The ANC’s treatment of learners is shocking to say the least.

The greatest failure of the Department of Education in the last decade is its inability to provide learners with safe toilets.

Not only because of the tragedy of loosing the lives of two learners who drowned and died in pit latrines, but because all Presidents who sat on this very seat since the dawn of democracy promised to eradicate in appropriate structures.

The most profound speech was made in 2004, by then-President Thabo Mbeki who said; “By the end of this financial year we shall ensure that there is no learner and student learning under a tree, mud-school or any dangerous conditions that expose learners and teachers to these elements.”

That was 15 years ago.

Last year, President Ramaphosa told us all ASIDI projects would be finished by March 2019. You mislead the house then and you continue to do so now. To garner votes! Just like you are trying to garner votes now with tablets!

Mr President,

  • We need toilets now, not tablets.
  • We need teachers now, not tablets.
  • We need textbook, not tablets.
  • We need you to deal with SADTU, not tablets.

Show leadership! Be resolute with SADTU! The Minister will thank you for it!

Mr President you announced that 699 schools were provided with safe and adequate sanitation since the launch of the SAFE Initiative in June last year. We need specifics: When, where, how, by whom because a price-tag of nine toilets costing R4.5 Million, at Myolwa Primary, Lusikisiki, EC.

How did you pull that miracle in seven months? with a fraction of the budget on sanitation? Remember R7.2 Billion (don’t be shocked) from the school infrastructure was moved to higher education, and now there is another budget cut on 2nd year mid term budget– but we need tablets, is it really tablets for learners or to line the ANC pockets – where are your priorities!

You say you care about Education. We just celebrated 78% pass rate in Matric but actually it is 37.6% because we had a drop-out rate of 52% which no one can account to!

The Multiple Examination Opportunity Policy intended to advantage learners is bound to be exploited by teachers, principals and Provinces. Limpopo sitting 25% of progressed learners the highest in the Country! And Western Cape on a mere 6.3% the lowest in the Country. The DA delivers!

But the ANC’s disdain for South Africans is not only limited to the children of our country. The distribution of social grants has all but collapsed under the mismanagement and corruption in the Department of Social Development.

South Africans eventually had to turn to the courts to prevent Minister Dlamini from halting social grant payments through her dodgy deals with CPS.

Why didn’t you fire the Minister for such failings?

You recently, commended the Department of Social Development for complying with the Constitutional Court order. Since when do we congratulate a government for following the law?  You should have begun with a sincere apology to the millions of South Africans that wait in queues for hours on end, uncertain about whether they will be able to feed their children each month.

If you ever needed an indication of how little the ANC thinks of the plight of women in our country, it is this: the President rewarded the person who destroyed our social grants system by making her the Minister of Women. In her, we are unlikely to find the champion for women that South Africans so desperately need.

It is true that the President spoke on Friday of wonderful plans and summits to tackle gender based violence, but on the ground, the government actively contributes to the risks women face. In the specialist units that deal with sexual offences and family violence, the most vulnerable victims of such crimes were exposed to even more criminals. The DA uncovered that 57 officers with serious criminal records, including culpable homicide and assault, are working in SAPS FCS units. This seems to be par for the course with the ANC government.

This is hardly surprising, considering how the ANC backed a deputy minister caught on camera assaulting a woman.

In stark contrast to this, the DA has always places the protection of rights and quality service delivery at the centre of everything we do.

The DA provides the best quality basic education in the country, by the DBE’s own inclusive basket measure. The Western Cape has run a world class infrastructure project, which is why no school in the province is without safe sanitation.

The Western Cape Department of Social Development has expanded services by 176%. The DA has tripled the number of social work professionals and offices in the province. We deliver services to more at risk individuals than the ANC ever could.

And the DA demands a professional, honest police force – exercising proper oversight and forming innovative community partnerships to fight the scourge of gender-based violence.

Fact: you cannot trust the ANC to protect your rights and bring you a better future. It’s been 25 years of promises that have been broken, and sometimes of outright lies.

Only one party has demonstrated that they put service delivery for all South Africans first, and that is the DA.