Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi in response to a DA question revealed that his department spent just under 1% of the department’s entire budget on maintenance and repairs at schools for the 2016/17 financial year (FY).
As of 30 September 2017, over R63 million was spent, which may see the department scrambling to spend more of its maintenance budget before the end of the new FY in March 2018.
This speaks to poor planning and target setting by the department. Since the 2012/13 FY to date, the department has spent just over R2 billion on repairs and maintenance of its assets.
It is disheartening to note that very little was spent on maintenance and repairs despite the many significant infrastructure challenges facing schools in Gauteng.
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This year, in a series of visits to schools across the province to monitor the quality of schooling, the DA exposed the following basic maintenance issues:
- Slow progress on the construction of additional classrooms;
• Shattered windows;
• Leaking roofs;
• Non-flushing toilets;
• Blocked drains;
• No fire extinguishers; and
• Lack of electricity and water connections at some schools.
The department only reacts to address issues after the DA highlights them which is deeply problematic and shows that the MEC is reactive rather than being proactive.
MEC Lesufi continually fails to execute his mandate of delivering quality education to all our children; he would do well to ensure that the maintenance and repairs budget is spent according to targets set, not hastily arising to issues at schools as they arise.
The DA will continue conducting oversight visits to schools in the province to hold the MEC accountable for the delivery and creation of a conducive learning and teaching environment in our schools.
MEC Lesufi must get the basics right at schools first before cutting ribbons at new state-of-the-art schools and making more empty promises about quality education to communities across the province.