By Mark Steele, MPL, Chief Whip to the DA in the KZN Legislature / DA KZN Spokesperson on Scopa:
A WRITTEN parliamentary reply to the DA has revealed that KZN’s education department owes a staggering R70 million to municipalities in the province as a result of schools failing to pay their service charges.
This is in spite of the DOE allocating funds to state schools in the province to meet this cost.
According to the reply, by KZN Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni, more than 40% of the total figure owed is currently at 120+ days with eThekwini at R18million and Msunduzi at R5million.
An age analysis provided by the DOE also indicates that the current amount owed to eThekwini is R10million while Msunduzi is almost R4million.
The DA is extremely concerned by this exorbitant figure which we believe points to extreme incompetence by both the DOE in managing the issue as well as the mismanagement of funds by local school authorities.
The failure by both the DOE and schools, to pay what they owe to KZN’s 16 municipalities, has a severe knock-on effect on service delivery as a whole and cannot be allowed to continue.
There is no reason for schools to owe this kind of money if they are controlling their finances properly. The auditing of funds transferred to schools is the responsibility of the department and they must report to the Portfolio Committee and Scopa on the actions they have taken to address this growing problem.
The DA expects MEC Nkonyeni to address this massive oversight by announcing a plan of action at the next meeting of the province’s Education portfolio meeting.
The delivery of high quality basic services is the right of every South African.
It is unacceptable that KZN municipalities – and ultimately the citizens of our province – should suffer as a result of a fellow state department’s inability to manage its own internal affairs.