Johannesburg – The Treasury will be taking back 33% of its infrastructural grant from the Eastern Cape department of education this year, according to an announcement in the Government Gazette.
The Treasury said it was taking back the grant because of poor expenditure in the Eastern Capes education department. It would instead divide and reallocate the R530m education grant to the Gauteng, Limpopo and Western Cape provinces.
This comes after the Eastern Cape was rated as the worst performing province in the 2015 Grade 12 exams, with a pass rate of 56.8%.
Eastern Cape’s Equal Education spokesperson Lumkile Zani said the decision was testament to the failures of the Eastern Cape education department.
"The EC government is not serious about improving infrastructure in its schools. We have 6 000 schools and a number of them have no running water. Around 80% do not have computer centres and 93% have no libraries. Yet we have a government that returns that money because of low expenditure. We keep piling problems, and we are failing our kids,” he said.
Zani said, while the province had put plans in place to confront the problems of infrastructure at schools, there were still learners who would be taught under a tree in rural areas.
"It’s inconceivable that this year we will still have learners who will go to mud schools and learn under trees. Every day these children are taught in an environments which is not conducive to learning, under the watch of EC government. It’s inexcusable," Zani told News24.
The DA’s finance spokesperson in the Eastern Cape, Bobby Stevenson, said he would be pursuing the matter in the portfolio committees to ensure accountability.
"There are over 600 schools in this province that lack water, electricity and sanitation. This money would have gone a long way to assisting some of them put the indignity of pit toilets behind them. Thousands of learners must continue to suffer at the hands of inefficient bureaucrats," Stevenson said.
He said the problem with the province was the inability of the Department of Public Works to act as an implementing agent.
"This results in other service providers, such as the Independent Development Trust and Coega Development Corporation, having to do the job which results in much higher costs and delays."
Eastern Cape department of education spokesperson Loyiso Pulumane could not be reached for comment.