Budget no excuse for poor planning

By Safiyia Stanfley, MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson on Education:

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the improvement in the audit outcomes of the department of Education for 2014/15, but remain concerned about serious service delivery failures which result from departmental flaws. These flaws were discussed today during the tabling of the department’s Annual Report for 2014/15.

There is still confusion between schools about whether or not the ANA exams will continue, as indicated by the national minister. No explanation was forthcoming.

The department was also silent on its Anti-Teenage Pregnancy Campaign and Anti-Bullying programme. Both programmes were described with much enthusiasm in the planning stage, but it appears not to have borne fruit.

It cannot be that the department achieves only 50% of its targets, but spends 99% of its funding and then complains that it does not receive sufficient resources. Planning needs to be realistic and financial management must improve.

Firstly, the department receives the largest allocation of any department. Other departments and entities deliver far better results using fewer resources.

Secondly, the department is again the second biggest contributor with irregular expenditure as it contributed 23% to the provincial irregular expenditure. Aside from the irregular expenditure incurred by implementing agencies that are supposed to be under the control of the department, officials within the department incurred R84.2 million in irregular expenditure. Clearly, the department needs to align its spending with the core mandate of delivering quality education to all learners in the province.

We are looking forward to engaging further with the department, especially on the issue of unanswered written questions that had previously been submitted to the department.