DA questions effectiveness of KZN School Functionality Oversights

Issued by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL – DA KZN Spokesperson on Education
01 Feb 2023 in Press Statements

As KwaZulu-Natal Legislature school functionality oversights begin today, the DA in the province has questioned the effectiveness of the programme, labelling it a government tick-box exercise.

The DA believes that the multi-party oversights, conducted biannually by the KZN Legislature, have little to no impact on resolutions adopted, often falling along the wayside.

This is particularly clear when we return to schools visited as part of the programme in years gone by and see that nothing has changed. Yet another ongoing concern is the cherry-picking of schools that are part of the programme.

The functionality programme is one of the most important in the province from an education perspective. However, for it to work, there has to be political will, which is severely lacking.

The DA also wants clarification over who heads up KZN’s Department of Education. Is it Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube who makes an appearance at almost all important education events? Or is it MEC Mbali Fraser, who was appointed by the ANC’s so-called Taliban faction?

The Premier needs to make up her mind. If she doesn’t want the role of MEC, then she must give MEC Fraser space to do her job and account to the Legislature.

The challenges facing education in our province are vast. Today, during the first leg of the programme, many of the schools visited were small and non-viable.

In one instance, a school had just nine learners. Meanwhile, at Shange Primary, there are just 35 learners with two educators, one of whom is the principal. At Ntabambamkhaya Primary in Harry Gwala, there are just two educators who teach learners ranging from Grade R to 7.

Yet another problem area encountered is the National Schools Nutrition Programme (NSNP). This includes the non-payment of many suppliers in the Ilembe district and – as identified today – within the Harry Gwala District.

The MEC needs to tell MPLs and the public why the well-being of learners -many of whom get their only meal of the day through this programme – are being put at risk. She also needs to tell us when suppliers will be paid.

Some of the issues that the DA will be bringing into sharp focus during the next few days include:

• Schools have access to basic municipal services including water, electricity, refuse removal;

• The condition of ablution facilities including pit latrines;

• School’s quintile rankings given that many are incorrectly ranked by the DoE, leading to a shortage of government funding;

• School enrolment numbers, over-crowded classrooms and learner/educator ratios and vacancies;

• SGB functionality and parental involvement and;

• Access to KZN’s Learner Transport Programme.

In the case of high schools, the DA will obtain matric pass rates. Critically, we will also establish the drop-out rates and teen pregnancy numbers and identify what has been done to get these learners back to school.

The DA has found that our own oversights – in particular those that are unannounced – are far more effective. These allow us to see matters for what they are and put pressure on the Department to bring about the change so desperately needed.

We remain committed to ensuring that KZN’s learners’ education is not compromised by a government that does not care.