Tom Stokes, MPP DA KZN Spokesperson on Education KZN Education MEC, Senzo Mchunu’s acknowledgement, at a Finance Portfolio Committee last week, of the accuracy of the DA’s assessment of the inadequacy of the provincial budget in funding education programmes and the consequent refusal of the DA to approve last year’s budget indicates the seriousness of the financial restraints the department is under. The MEC, while not agreeing with the DA in opposing the budget, admitted that the points made by the DA were in fact correct and that despite the political statements made by the ANC leadership, that education was the number one priority in the country, this status did not extend to financing. In KZN, 42% of the provincial budget is allocated to Education. In other provinces, where Education is in similar dire straits, up to 45% is provided. Against a R90billion rand budget this shortfall translates into R1.8 billion – the extra funding the KZN CFO for Education has been calling for over the past 3 years. The DA has challenged the political leadership in the KZN cabinet to re-examine its own commitment to tackle this priority. To the credit of ANC members present at the meeting, there was an immediate support for this proposal and a resolution was adopted to task the treasury to re-examine the proportional allocation to the Education portfolio.