Mpumalanga Education Department heading for financial disaster

Anthony Benadie MPL

Spokesperson – Education

The Mpumalanga Education Department is yet again heading for a financial disaster, after its first quarterly report for the 2014/2015 financial year revealed that while the department only achieved 67,8% of its planned targets, it spent 103% of its budget for the quarter.

During a meeting of the Provincial Legislatures’ Education portfolio committee on Tuesday, an analysis of the Departments’ performance during the first quarter of the 2014/2015 financial year revealed that while the department had set 292 targets, it only managed to achieve 198 of these targets. Yet the department spent, in fact over-spent, every cent allocated to the 292 targets.

In essence, the Department tables one performance plan and budget, has the Provincial Legislature approve it and then simply does something else. In all honesty, the 32.2% of targets not achieved might never be achieved as the money to do so is physically not there. This tendency could spell disaster for the Department if continued through the remaining three quarters of the financial year.

Of its nine departmental programmes, the worst is programme 5 – Further Education and Training, which achieved only 14 of its 19 objectives, yet spent 153.7% of its budget. Other overspending programmes include programme 2 – Public Ordinary Schools, 4 – Public Special Schools, 6 – Adult Basic Education and Training and 8 – Infrastructure, which spent 103,7%; 111,3%; 102,6% and 108% of its budget respectively.

MEC Mhaule and her department will have much to answer for when they appear before the portfolio committee.

This revelation comes only days after it emerged that the Trichardtsfontein school was closed due to the department’s inability to pay its rent.

Given the financial maladministration of the department, occurrences such as Trichardtsfontein are not surprising, with a bleak financial outlook for the department if the current performance is allowed to continue for the remainder of the financial year.

The DA will closely monitor the Departments’ performance and hold them to account accordingly.