Member Statement by Hon. Jacques Smalle on Education

The following member statement was delivered by Jacques Smalle DA MPL, to the Limpopo Provincial Legislature on 27 October 2015 during a Debate on Education.

“No learner left behind”

Madam speaker

The DA is deeply concerned about the department of education’s severe underspending of over  R1,9 billion on its grant allocation as revealed during the portfolio committee meeting earlier this month.

These grants of more than R2,3 billion were meant for:

  • The Nutrition Programme which was allocated R1.3 billion, only

19% was spent

  • The Education Infrastructure Grant was allocated R805 million but only 21% was spent
  • Maths, Science and Technology grant of R41 million, only 0.5% was spent to procure computers and mathematics kits
  • EPWP Incentive grant of R 2.1 million, 0% was spent
  • HIV and Aids (Life skills education) grant of R 31 million, only 1% was spent

Reasons for variance from the stipulated targets range from new tenders still being advertised, identifying beneficiaries through other departments or procurement processes still in progress.

Madam speaker,

This house knows that it is the systemic decay within the department that causes this severe lack of management. It is time that this department prioritises its core mandate: to provide quality education to the learners of Limpopo.

Efficient planning processes must be implemented and strict compliance to legislation adhered to and officials who disregard this must be held to account.

Lack of expenditure and implementation of these grants compounded by the cap of norms and standards funding from the allocated R1161 to R320, means that 80% matric pass target set by the department could be a pipe dream.

The department should adopt the DA’s successful approach of  “No learner left” behind and aim for 100% pass rate .This is achievable through the effective utilisation of all available resources including the spending of grants.

The DA calls on MEC Kgetjepe to put the department on terms to ensure that all budget allocations are spent efficiently and to hold officials accountable.

Thank you.