By Mark Steele, MPL, Member of the DA Caucus in the KZN Legislature:
A PARLIAMENTARY reply to the DA has revealed that almost half of KZN’s schools do not any have any form of security, with 3 020 schools currently employing a security officer and 2 984 schools with no one in this role.
The written response by KZN Education MEC, Peggy Nkoneyni, states that the policy of the department is to provide one post for a security officer to each school in the province, with the creation and allocation of such a post to each school considered on an annual basis with due regards to the availability of funds.
The DA regards the lack of security at so many schools as particularly alarming given last week’s tragic incident at a Nquthu school, where gunmen stormed a classroom, killing a deputy principal and a young girl while injuring another learner.
Theft is another major issue. During our oversight visits we have seen many KZN schools where perimeter fencing is non-existent, allowing easy access for criminals to help themselves to resources. In the absence of a security guard, these schools become an even greater soft target.
The same parliamentary question by the DA also called for figures relating to cleaning and administrative staff. The reply shows that;
– 2 651 schools employ a cleaner while 3 353 do not
– 3 353 schools have at least one administrative clerk while 2 651 do not.
According to MEC Nkonyeni, additional funding of R1 221billion is needed to ensure that every school in KZN has at least one security officer, one administrative clerk and one cleaner.
For any school to function effectively and in the best interests of learners, it must be safe, it must be clean and there must be sound administration. That so many KZN schools do not have these most basic requirements in place is extremely disturbing.
The DA does not believe this is a case of there being insufficient funds. Instead, it is a case of money not being spent as it should be.
We have been advised that the long-awaited financial audit into the KZN Education department’s affairs is complete. We expect MEC Nkonyeni to make the outcomes known without any further delay and to act on the report’s recommendations so that funding can be diverted to where it is most needed.