Education department must concentrate on education

By Andrew Louw, MPL, DA Provincial Leader in the Northern Cape:

The Democratic Alliance knew that the Northern Cape department of Education would lose its enrolment battle against the Northern Cape High School. It has indeed become the norm for the department to appear in court every second day in cases that it loses.

We demand that the legal fees for this case must be carried by the official or officials who insisted on pursuing the matter. Funds allocated cannot be abused in this manner, but must always be spent to enhance education in the province. We need an education department that concentrates on the quality of education and not petty attempts to dictate to parents where their children may or may not go to school.

Claims against the department now stands at R14.2 million and the department has spent more than R2.3 million on legal fees over the past two financial years. Instead of using its budget for essential matters like improving school infrastructure or to buying textbooks, it is wasting taxpayers’ money on fighting unwinnable cases for dubious reasons. Officials are apparently becoming politicians and interfering with political matters rather than focusing on the administration of education.

If administrators want to become politicians, they must do so outside of the department where their actions cannot be detrimental to the quality of education offered to our children.

I will be writing to the Minister of Basic Education to bring these facts to her attention and to determine how she will act to ensure that the quality of education in the province improves.

As a party believing in the rule of law, the DA is happy to note that the judiciary has been independent in deciding on the matter. We support the message from the courts that it is the quality of education offered to our children which should be at the forefront of the department’s work.