Safiyia Stanfley, MPL
DA Provincial Spokesperson on Education:
The Democratic Alliance has been reliably informed by a source within the provincial government that a meeting of the provincial ANCWL was scheduled to take place in the department of Education’s boardroom today.
We have been further informed that officials from within the department were called to attend after the DA alerted the media. We believe that this last minute attendance is an attempt to cover up the fact that departmental resources were used for political gain. The attendance of department officials cannot legitimise a political party event being held at a government department, especially during working hours.
Breakfast and lunch is also said to be catered for the meeting from the department’s budget. We will be submitting written questions through the Legislature to determine the full costs of this state-sponsored rally.
It is unthinkable for any department to use its limited resources for political purposes. The department of Education was protected from the worst of the provincial budget cuts so that the quality of education offered to our children could improve. Whenever money is spent in this department, it should be to further teaching and learning in our province. Now we hear that limited resources will not be spent on the core mandates of the department, but rather on political mandates.
While the department plays host to the ANCWL, for example, we have 1
643 children with special needs who are waiting for placement in schools. This is the highest of any province in the country. Why are children being denied their right to education while the ANCWL dines on the department’s funds?
These allegations are the latest in a string of recent scandals that has shown the financial management of the department in a poor light.
In the past few weeks alone, we have seen that the department has erected unnecessary security upgrades at inflated costs and the Hawks are probing possible fraud and corruption relating to payments made to a local lodge. A case of fraud has also been opened following the cloning of school cheques in Windsorton.
The DA will get to the bottom of this story and, if necessary, we will lay criminal charges for misuse of state funds. We will question the MEC through the Legislature to ensure full accountability.