By Mariette Pittaway, DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
The Free State Provincial Department of Education continues to delay the payments of subsidies to schools as it struggles to get a grip on its finances.
Several public ordinary schools have not yet been paid their fourth quarter subsidies.
This came to light after the DA in the Free State Provincial Legislature conducted a mini survey on the payments of subsidies in the province. The information gathered paints a shocking picture.
The DA contacted 30 high schools and 20 primary schools out of which 21 high schools and 16 primary schools have confirmed to us that they are yet to receive their allocated subsidy payments for the fourth quarter of the 2015/16 financial year.
The DA have agreed to keep the names of the schools confidential since principals fear victimisation from the department.
Meanwhile, Education MEC Tate Makgoe has been crisscrossing the province to deliver motivational speeches to learners, which would all come to naught if the schools these learners attend do not have the money to pay for water, electricity and other necessary services.
MEC Makgoe should be in his office to ensure the timely payments of subsidies before he makes money available to tour the province. He must immediately ensure that his department facilitate the payment of subsidies to all schools in the province.
The DA has urged the department to get its finances in order for several years now, but it appears that MEC Makgoe does not have the political will to bring his department’s finances under control. Last year the department incurred R600 million in unauthorised expenditure, while it failed to pay teachers’ salaries and school subsidies on time.
It is worth noting that the National Minister of Education, Angie Motshekga, said that she is really ashamed to admit that the DA-led government’s performance in managing the Western Cape Provincial Department of Education and the delivery of education, is exemplary compared to all the other provinces under ANC governance. This is a serious indictment by an ANC minister on her own party’s underperformance in education.
The only solution to improve education in the Free State over the long term is to vote in a DA government.