The Democratic Alliance (DA) has today called on KZN’s ANC-led executive to urgently request additional help from National Treasury in order to finally address the massive issue of remuneration and back pay of iZinduna.
This unfunded mandate for the province is a headache created by former President Jacob Zuma which has trapped KZN’s Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) in debt of more than a billion Rand.
The DA’s appeal was made during a Special Sitting of the KZN Legislature which saw the KZN 4th Adjustment Appropriation Bill passed, bringing much-needed relief for education in the province, due to an extra R413 million from National Treasury.
The DA welcomes this funding for education, which is aimed at school infrastructure, particularly water and sanitation. We believe that should National Treasury have surplus funding, the time would be right to assist KZN with the remuneration and back pay of iZinduna. This as provincial government departments, including the Department of Education (DoE), continue to contribute toward iZinduna funding, creating enormous spending pressure.
Certainly, the additional funding for education does not come a moment too soon. While the ANC would have us believe that the current infrastructure backlogs and challenges within our schools are a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the reality is that this is a crisis that has arisen due to years and years of neglect. The fact that so little has been done since 1994 is what has led to many of KZN’s schools still having no access to water or proper sanitation.
While the funding for education amounts to good news, it needs to be monitored and an implementable turnaround strategy needs to be produced – one that will focus on dealing with school infrastructure backlogs. Currently, spending in this area appears to be reactive rather than based on a proactive plan.
The DA will continue to fight for the rights of our learners to a learning environment where schools are not crumbling, where they do not have to suffer the indignity of pit toilets and where they have access to proper water supply, particularly as we face a global health pandemic. Equally, we remain committed to ensuring that each and every cent is spent properly, both within education and every other area of the provincial government.