Desiree van der Walt MPL
DA Limpopo Spokesperson on Basic Education
Limpopo’s Education MEC Dickson Masemola presented no solutions to the textbook or infrastructure crisis in his budget speech today. The MEC’s lack of leadership is a worrying sign that the R23 billion budget announced today will not be used to improve the quality of our learners’ education. This speech sidestepped the very pressing delivery concerns faced by our education system: the failure to make sure that textbooks are delivered on time and infrastructure problems faced by most of our public schools. Of this R23 billion, 83% (R19 billion) is budgeted for the compensation of employees including those officials of the department who are responsible for bringing it down.
Budgetary considerations for the department’s main mandate, which is the provision of good quality education have been relegated to the side. In fact nowhere in his speech did the MEC even acknowledge the fact that for the past two academic years, his department has failed to deliver textbooks on time to the learners of the province. This was largely due to politically connected middlemen who inflated the costs of delivering textbooks. These tender irregularities account for the department’s financial problems and explain its disclaimers for the past 5 years under MEC Masemola. Contrasts the meagre R997 million allocated for school infrastructure development and R1, 1 billion for MEC Maseloma’s support staff.
This is notwithstanding the fact that examples abound in the province of overcrowded classrooms and dilapidated buildings. Masemola’s speech once again illustrates his insensitivity towards the problems faced by our learners. He should have been made to vacate this position.