Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Shadow MEC of Education
According to the Gauteng Education Department’s first quarterly report, the department has only spent 12% of its Early Childhood Development (ECD) budget and 15% of the Infrastructure Development Programme budget.
Both these programmes have been characterised by poor spending in the past and the trend appears to be continuing into the new financial year.
During the recent budget debates, the DA noted an allocation of R725 million to ECD programmes with concern. Last year, R677 million was allocated to this programme but registered a 22%, or R141 million, underspend.
The department already struggles to provide quality learning at foundation phase in the province and in order to increase access to quality ECD programmes, proper planning and a budget review is required.
A solid foundation phase through quality education is critical in a child’s formative years, particularly in reducing high rates of grade repetition and learner dropout.
In addition, the department’s infrastructure programme is battling to spend money; this, while school infrastructure is deteriorating and schools are desperate for major refurbishments and maintenance. In fact, only R259 million of a R1.6 billion budget has been spent to date.
Poor project management and planning are responsible for the unacceptable underspend in this department.
The DA will be requesting a detailed action plan from Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, to ensure that the budget for the remainder of the financial year is spent correctly.