By Mariette Pittaway, DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
The Free State Provincial department of Education has again failed to pay out school subsidies to high schools in the province. I submitted written questions to Education MEC Tate Makgoe last month, that remain unanswered, asking him:
- Whether the department has failed to timeously pay out any subsidies to schools since 01 April 2015; if not, how was this conclusion reached; if so, (a) what are the reasons for failing to pay subsidies to schools timeously and (b) what measures has the department implemented to ensure that school subsidies will be paid timeously in future; and
- For the current 2015/16 financial year (a) what is the total annual and (b) quarterly subsidy amounts paid to each school in the province and (c) on what dates are subsidy funds scheduled to be released?
The DA has been approached by several public high schools for assistance, but wish to remain anonymous fearing intimidation.
Subsidies to independent schools have also been withheld, with the department claiming that subsidies are being withheld due to poor ANA results. This is illegal. High school subsidies are linked to matric pass rate performance.
Failure to pay out subsidies timeously have a negative impact on the ability of schools to function optimally and to create an environment conducive to learning. If our schools are unable to function properly, how will the learners of our province be able to perform academically?
The department has long suffered under the yoke of financial mismanagement. MEC Tate Makgoe should come clean on the reasons for withholding subsidies from schools and payments should immediately be released.
Failure to pay out school subsidies is yet another example of the moral and financial bankruptcy of the Free State Provincial Government.