Equal Education media statement: Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s performance contract must be made public
30 May 2019
Angie Motshekga’s reappointment as Basic Education Minister, for a third term, means that she must now demonstrate the “urgency” in meeting her mandate, that President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke of when he announced the new members of Cabinet yesterday. The new administration that she forms part of, must be “capable” and “efficient” he said.
President Ramaphosa pledged that the performance of government Ministers – “individually and collectively” – would be “closely monitored against specific outcomes”. He announced that each Minister will be held to a performance contract.
President Ramaphosa yesterday told South Africans: “The people who I am appointing today must realise that the expectations of the South African people have never been greater and that they will shoulder a great responsibility… Their performance – individually and collectively – will be closely monitored against specific outcomes. Where implementation is unsatisfactory, action will be taken.”
Learners, parents and teachers can no longer afford “unsatisfactory” work from Motshekga. We cannot afford another five years of weak political will, desperately poor planning, ineptitude, faux accountability, and perpetual passing of the buck in the education sector.
Minister Motshekga is a public servant, and the public must be able to measure her performance against the outcomes stipulated in her performance contract. In order to do this, President Ramaphosa must make public the performance contracts of Minister Motshekga and the rest of the Cabinet.
Additionally, performance contracts should be developed with the real and urgent needs of South Africans in mind. Minister Motshekga’s contract ought to include:
- Proper compliance with the Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure that includes meeting the deadlines that the law stipulates, timeously releasing coherent provincial infrastructure progress reports, ensuring that provincial Education MECs undertake the rigorous planning and capacity building necessary to comply with the Norms and Standards, and urgently effecting intergovernmental cooperation to ensure that a department such as Public Works fulfils its mandate;
- A measurable and radical improvement in early grade literacy rates; and
- Substantive engagement with civil society at regular intervals.
The right to education is not realised when there is the risk of a classroom roof collapsing on learners, or the risk of learners drowning in a school pit latrine. Over her 10 years as Minister of Basic Education, Motshekga has fought against numerous efforts to give substance to the definition of the right to education. The Ministry of Basic Education is the custodian of the right to basic education and tasked with the Constitutional responsibility of realising that right – in its entirety.
Should Motshekga serve her full term as Minister of Basic Education she will have been in her role for 15 years. Service over this length of time must produce a measurable improvement to the standard of education provided to learners across the country. Equal Education will be monitoring the Minister’s performance - President Ramaphosa must further enable this by making her performance contract public.
Issued by Leanne Jansen-Thomsa, Head of Communications, EE, 30 May 2019