Statement to the National Assembly on the Eastern Cape Education Department intervention by Mrs Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education
16 Mar 2011
Thank you warmly for the opportunity to report to the National Assembly on the steps we have taken to swiftly address the challenges facing the Eastern Cape Department of Education.
During engagements we recently had with the provincial department, it became very apparent that there were serious challenges of capacity.
These challenges made it difficult for the provincial department to implement an effective turnaround strategy that would be in the best interest of all learners in that province.
We further realised that all efforts aimed at bringing about a sustainable turnaround of the provincial department had to effectively address all of the critical underlying challenges and really help in creating an enabling environment conducive for the efficient and effective delivery of educational services in the province.
In view of the seriousness of the situation, and at a critical time when we have committed to and are hard at work to provide an improved quality of basic education, it was resolved at the Cabinet meeting of 2 March 2011 that I as the Minister of Basic Education would assume responsibility for the areas in which the provincial department was struggling to meet minimum standards of service delivery.
Cabinet resolved that this would be done in terms of Section 100 (1) (b) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, (Act 108 of 1996). The most recent challenges in the Eastern Cape Education Department are the following:
- Over-expenditure of the budget for compensation of employees, because the Province could not comply with policies and norms and standards relating to Educator Post Provisioning. This problem has placed an enormous strain on the overall budget for education in the Province and has impacted on the Province's overall budget and spending trends.
- Failure to provide textbooks and stationery to Section 20 schools due to poor management of the procurement process (the provincial department supplies textbooks and stationery to Section 20 schools as opposed to Section 21 schools that procure their own).
- Suspension of the scholar transport programme due to over-spending;
- Termination of the school nutrition programme before the end of the financial year due to factors like non-compliance with policy; poor management of the budget and poor supply chain management.
- Inability to implement effectively the school infrastructure development programme. This has resulted in funding earmarked for school infrastructure being returned to the National Treasury, although the province is faced with serious infrastructural backlogs.
Since the Cabinet decision of 2 March 2011, the Deputy Minister of Basic Education and I have consulted extensively with the leadership of the province and in particular, with the Premier and the MEC for Education.
All our discussions with the provincial leadership have been conducted in a spirit of cooperation and support.
The DBE appointed a technical team comprising senior officials under the leadership of the Director-General to develop a problem analysis and draft an intervention plan, working collaboratively with senior counterparts in the Eastern Cape Department of Education. The first draft of this plan was duly completed on 8 March 2011.
Subsection 100(2)(a) of the Constitution requires that, when the national executive acts in terms of subsection (1)(b), it must submit notice of the intervention to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) within 14 days of its first sitting after the intervention began.
Accordingly, as required by the Constitution, a notice regarding this intervention was lodged on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 with the NCOP within the stipulated timeframe.
The Council has the duty, in terms of subsection 100(2)(b), to consider approving or disapproving the intervention.
In the event that the Council approves, it must review the intervention regularly and make any appropriate recommendations to the national executive. Should the Council disapprove, the intervention must end.
The intervention includes taking over the above mentioned functions and working collaboratively with the Eastern Cape Department of Education to address the current challenges.
I intend to build capacity in the province to allow the Eastern Cape Education Department to resume its functions as soon as possible.
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and the Chairperson of the Select Committee on Education and Recreation has been informed of the intervention.
I will provide regular reports on progress made with regard to the intervention.
The Cabinet decision on 2 March 2011 to invoke Section 100 (b) of the Constitution was taken consciously to resolve the challenges in the Eastern Cape Department of Education and to provide for the continued delivery of quality learning and teaching in the province.
The ruling party has the responsibility to ensure that our clear goal of improved quality of basic education is met across the country. It is expressly for this reason that we have taken proactive steps better to strengthen the provision of educational services in the Eastern Cape.
I trust that the NCOP will approve this timely and crucial intervention and duly support it.
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of Basic Education
16 Mar 2011
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