All is not well, SADTU and Lesufi must account – Khume Ramulifho

DA says MEC is not telling the truth about the state of education in the province

#GPSchoolsOversight: All is not well, SADTU and Lesufi must account

10 August 2017

Today marked the beginning of the Democratic Alliance in the Gauteng’s 10-day #GPSchoolsOversight campaign. As such, this morning, I conducted inspections at three Soweto schools, namely Noordgesig Primary School, Noordgesig Secondary School and Khomanani Primary School.

At each school, I spent over an hour speaking with the Principal and inspecting the campus to ascertain first-hand the true state of schooling in Gauteng, not the airbrushed and PR scripted version presented by the Gauteng Department of Education. What has become abundantly clear, is that the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, is not telling the truth about the state of education in the province.

One of the greatest concerns is the role that the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) is playing in killing education in Gauteng. As I travelled through Soweto, learners from a multitude of schools were roaming the streets from as early as 11:00. Upon further investigation it became clear that students had been let out of school early so that SADTU could convene a 12:00 meeting at Regina Mundi Church.

I will therefore be requesting that the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) investigate SADTU for undermining the Constitutional right to basic education.

This is not the first instance of SADTU deliberately sabotaging education and the futures of the country’s youth, and it will not be the last time for as long as the ANC, which is in bed with SADTU, governs Gauteng.

Education is not a priority for the ANC and SADTU. If MEC Lesufi is genuinely committed to education and not PR, he will immediately institute an investigation and take swift action against officials found to have used teaching time for SADTU activities.

Some of the common problems at the schools I visited today are as follows:

Overcrowding; Dilapidated infrastructure; Asbestos classrooms; Filthy and/or broken ablution facilities; Raw sewage flowing from pipes; Non-existent or non-operating ICT facilities; and teachers without laptops.

At Noordgesig Primary School, there are exposed asbestos panels in 9 of the classrooms, which the Department of Labour deemed unfit for the purposes of learning and therefore sealed off the classrooms; the Department of Education subsequently substituted the 9 classrooms with 5 mobile classrooms, which are without electricity.
Instead of supplying the 5 mobile classrooms with electricity and ensuring that there is adequate space for learners, the Department of Education moved learners back to the hazardous asbestos classrooms. The mobile classrooms now sit empty.

Further down the road at Noordgesig Secondary School, what stuck out was that most of the doors are without door handles, due to poor workmanship. In addition to this there are 12 asbestos structures; the ceilings of the classrooms are in a poor state, with panels often falling. It is by luck that a learner has not been injured. The school has a computer lab but the facility is offline, teachers have not been given ICT training and the server has been stolen, with no real prospect of it being replaced. In the classrooms, black boards are balanced on desks. The school has been promised smartboards but they are not forthcoming.

On the last visit to Khomanani the school appears to tick all the right boxes. Despite this, there exist some concerns around overcrowding and the school nutrition programme, which sometimes delivers fruits and vegetables that are not fresh.

For the remainder of this week and next week, I and my colleagues will be visiting schools across Gauteng to in order to assess the state and quality of teaching and infrastructure. I will be compiling a report, which I will brief the public on, and further to this I will be articulating what the DA will do to give education in Gauteng a new beginning.

The youth of Gauteng deserve the best quality education, which the DA is committed to delivering when we are elected in to lead Gauteng in 2019.

Issued by Khume Ramulifho, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, 10 August 2017