Jacques Smalle MP
DA Limpopo Provincial Leader
The ANC government in Limpopo has announced its intention to close down hundreds of schools with its proposed merger of 308 schools. This hypocrisy is boundless compared to the amount of criticism the DA-led government attracted when it proposed to close 17 under performing schools in the Western Cape.
The Democratic Alliance will be embarking on its own province wide oversight to schools which have been earmarked for closure by MEC Dikeledi Magdazi.
It is critically important that we do not take these proposed closures at face value but get to the real reasons behind them. The impact of these closures on the affected communities needs to be properly assessed.
Closing of any school must be a measure of last resort. The DA is in principle not against the closure of old schools where the infrastructure has become safety and health hazards. We also recognise the need to merge schools with lower learner enrolment.
However where neglect by government itself is the real reason for the closure; then this would point out to unparalleled levels of hypocrisy by the ANC.
Limpopo is known for its poor schools’ infrastructure; failure by government to spend on this is to blame.
Where the DA governs in the Western Cape, a meagre 17 schools which were underperforming were proposed to be closed. This attracted unwarranted criticism from the ANC.
Western Cape’s scenario is insignificant compared to a number of schools which now face closure in Limpopo and 310 schools which are already on the line to be closed in the Eastern Cape. 600 have already been closed in that province since 2000. 150 schools are due for closure in Mpumalanga in 2013/14 and 20 schools were gazetted to be closed in the Northern Cape last year alone.
We remain ambivalent about MEC Magadzi’s stated rationale. The DA’s own oversight on the ground will uncover the true reasons behind these closures.