KZN education: MEC undermining political accountability

Tom Stokes, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Education

Failure to implement a plan to introduce the teaching of indigenous languages at primary school level in KwaZulu-Natal is the direct result of a dearth of political oversight within the education department.

According to a media report today, plans have failed to take off as a result of a lack of consultation by the department on the introduction of the programme.

The situation is typical of the department’s position since former KZN Speaker, Peggy Nkonyeni was appointed MEC some eight months ago.

Since then KZN’s education department has been left largely to its own devices with legislative oversight of both the executive and the department’s performance against its mandate being sidelined.

Since MEC Nkonyeni’s appointment, the education portfolio committee has only met three times.

Equally alarming is that the MEC herself has only attended one of these meetings.  That the MEC regards the portfolio committee with such disdain is disastrous for the future of education in this province.

Essentially, it means that there is no accountability.  It also reinforces the DA’s concerns over the priorities of several KZN MEC’s as the elections draw closer.

There are several pressing issues that demand input from the MEC.  These include a feedback on the SANTS issue and the reasons for this debacle.  The DA has also asked for updates on the much-lauded Transformation and Rationalization programme, the 2014 back-to-school report, the ANA results report and now the language programme.

We expect the MEC to attend a portfolio committee meeting scheduled for this Friday.  We expect her to come armed with responses to these many outstanding issues.