ANC once again misleading the public - WCape Govt

Bronagh Casey says Donald Grant said textbooks had been delivered, didn't deny any shortages

The Western Cape ANC has once again misled the public in their attempt to discredit the Western Cape Government.

The Minister has never denied that there has been shortage of textbooks in schools. The Ministry has in fact released a statement detailing the shortage of textbooks at one of our schools and has explained what the circumstances are.

In a statement released by his office on the 5th of July 2012, the Ministry denied claims by the Western Cape ANC that we had not delivered textbooks to four schools in the Kraaifontein area. The fact is that the Western Cape Education Department did deliver textbooks to all of these schools. (Please see supporting document )

The Ministry also announced that further details would be released by the Department the following day.

On the 6th of July, the Ministry released a statement with supporting documentation by the Department detailing the textbook provision at each school. As can be seen in the statement and supporting document attached, the WCED did indeed deliver textbooks to each of these schools.

In that document we also provided evidence of a shortage of a very limited number of textbooks at one of the schools - Bloekombos Primary School. We have never denied that there was a shortage of textbooks at the school. We are and have been aware of a delay in the delivery of textbooks at Bloekombos Primary School. However, it must be stressed that only 12% of the delayed textbook order is directly for learner use. The balance of the delayed textbook order consists of single copy resource material for teachers.

The original order placed by the school for the outstanding textbooks was delayed due to errors with the title descriptions which had to be followed up with the school. The WCED had re-ordered these books and they were delivered last week.

Therefore, one can clearly see from the attached releases that the Minister has never denied that there was a textbook shortage at a school. We have denied that we have not delivered textbooks to schools and openly released documents detailing the shortages at one of the schools.

The allegations made by the ANC that the Minister has closed more schools than he has built is also factually incorrect.

The Minister has closed 15 schools during his tenure. The majority of these schools had low and dwindling learner numbers, and involved only 1 231 learners from the 15 schools.

In the same period, the WCED has completed the building of 23 new schools and has replaced eight schools built of inappropriate materials, therefore making provision for the accommodation of an additional 27 000 learners in new schools and 9 600 learners at replacement facilities. A total of 36 000 places.

The WCED expects to complete the building of three additional new schools and 13 replacement schools in the 2012/2013 financial year.

Once these schools have been completed, the WCED will have built 26 new schools (accommodating approximately 30,000 additional learners) and 21 replacement schools (accommodating approximately 27 000 learners). This is a total of 57 000 places in all.

Should the Minister decide at the end of the third term to close all of the 27 schools, after meeting the prescribed public participation requirements and after considering all presentations made to him, then it would affect approximately 4 000 learners.We have clearly built more schools to accommodate more learners than we have closed schools affecting learners. The allegations made by the ANC are again false and baseless.

Also, the Minister will not close a school unless he is certain that all learners will be suitably placed in an alternative school that can provide better opportunities. In other words - all learners affected by school closures will be placed at another school.

The ANC's allegations and claims are part of a wider campaign to discredit Minister Grant who has a proven track record of delivery.

For example, we have in our possession a letter by the "Save our Schools" crisis committee, supported by the ANC, to the community of Paarl and Wellington stating that the Minister would be joining Marius Fransman and Tony Ehrenreich at a school closures meeting in Paarl yesterday (15 July 2012). However, the Minister has never been invited nor has agreed to attend such a meeting. This meeting did not form part of the formal public participation process which is currently underway.

It is not clear why the ANC would mislead the public in such a way. We can only suspect it is used as an opportunity to condemn the Minister when he does not attend the meeting.

We have heard of similar tactics in the Eden Karroo district where it was again claimed, without our knowledge, that the Minister would be attending school closure meetings.

It is again clear that the ANC charade today and yesterday is a political ploy to divert the attention from the failure of the ANC to deliver quality education in other provinces.

Their tactics will not deter the Minister from fulfilling the requirements of his position and he will continue to implement the strategies that have proven successful over the last few years.

Statement issued by Bronagh Casey, spokesperson for Western Cape Minister of Education, Donald Grant, July 16 2012

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