Peter Frewen MPL
Free State Provincial Legislature
The Free State Education MEC, Mr Tate Makgoe, reportedly spoke out about the financial health of his department for the first time ever. MEC Makgoe denied that the department is in dire financial straits and shrugged off the situation by claiming that the department is experiencing a cash flow problem. It is evident that MEC Makgoe does not have the faintest idea of the financial mess the department finds itself in.
The provincial department is set to overspend its budget by R1.2 billion this financial year. This is hardly indicative of a cash flow problem, but rather a financial catastrophe of immense proportions.
The department has been unable to meet its financial obligations for the following:
- Failure to pay state subsidies to schools in excess of R200 million;
- Failure to pay publishers in excess of R250 million and more than R1.2 million to distributors of textbooks and learning aids resulting in shortages at more than 30% of schools across the province.
The DA warned that the department was heading towards financial disaster. The DA opposed the education budget last year because not enough funding had been allocated to the department in order for it to achieve its goals.
The provincial finance committee last year requested the department to present its plan on how they would bring it in under budget. The department has repeatedly failed to present its turnaround strategy.
The DA will submit written questions to MEC Makgoe requesting detailed information on its financial capabilities and obligations.