WC the only province to prioritise safe school infrastructure

Issued by Baxolile ‘Bax’ Nodada MP – DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education
31 May 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Baxolile ‘Bax’ Nodada MP

From a presentation by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to the parliamentary portfolio committee on basic education yesterday, it is clear that the DA-run Western Cape is the only province that understands the value and benefit of safe school i nfrastructure and have found innovative ways to invest in and provide good quality schools, classrooms and hygiene facilities.

Of the nine provinces, only the Western Cape has made significant investment from its equitable share, providing R1 626 195 compared to the R1 290 062 it receives from the Education Infrastructure Grant (EIG). The Eastern Cape, Northern Cape (NC) and North West (NW) prioritised no budget towards addressing their school infrastructure concerns, with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) providing R1 396 and R2 177 to the NC and NW respectively.

It is clear that the EIG is inadequate to address all infrastructure demands, and that DBE should allocate available funding to provinces that have a proven track record of investing in and providing infrastructure. The Western Cape’s Rapid School Build programme built the Saxonsea Junior High School in just 65 days, while DBE’s infrastructure projects are delayed for an average 27 months according to the Auditor-General’s 2021/22 PFMA report. It is time DBE and the other provinces learned from the Western Cape on how to deliver quality services to the South African public.

In 2023, learners should not have to endanger their lives at the more than 5 000 schools that still have pit toilets or the 5 800 schools that do not have reliable water supply. 70% of South Africa schools do not have libraries – is it any wonder that 1 in 5 grade 4 children cannot read for meaning.

The DA should not have to haul the Department to the courts in order for them to provide safe infrastructure, yet this is exactly what we are now doing. The DA takes the safety of our children and the quality of their education seriously.