Edmund van Vuuren (MPL)
Shadow MEC for Education
The DA will be watching the outcome of the court case against Pankie Sizani for allegedly creating ghost teacher posts. If convicted, no mercy must be shown to her or her high-raking husband, Stone Sizani, who is a former education MEC and who currently serves as chief whip of the ANC in parliament.
This case, which has been dragging on since 2011, is a diabolical example of how little the ANC cares for education. This case will be a real test for the ANC to act against their high-profile members who allegedly committed fraud against the backdrop of thousands of desperate children who have been suffering poor education due to acute teacher-shortages in the Eastern Cape combined with chronic budget constraints.
The late President Nelson Mandela said: “The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation. Our previous system emphasized the physical and other differences of South Africans with devastating effects. We are steadily but surely introducing education that enables our children to exploit their similarities and common goals, while appreciating the strength in their diversity”.
Sadly the current ANC-government has not provided education to enable our children to reach their goals. Instead, they have dumbed-down the education system by reducing the pass-rate even further, to only 30% for matric.
Such measures have not brought about solutions to the problem in education. We need to provide our children with a quality education. This starts with a caring department of education, where officials and teachers are there for the calling, not to abuse the system for their own interests.
In 2011 the education portfolio committee in the legislature was informed by the department that the alleged “Pankie Sizani-fraud” involved 99 ghost teachers were involved. Recruited people ranged from hairdressers to people working at supermarkets, who had their names attached to the payroll.
It doesn’t matter who it is. Fraudulent activities that undermine and compromise education cannot ever be tolerated.