Eastern Cape Education MEC Fundile Gade said progress at public schools in the province has been delayed by corrupt government officials.
Gade spoke at the Department of Basic Education’s budget vote debate where he highlighted challenges faced by his department when it comes to improving public schools.
“People who are in positions to ensure public schools are taken care of have not done so because of greed and selfishness,” said Gade.
Just last month, five suspects are including former chief education specialist Noxolo Gwarube, former superintendent general Mthunywa Ngonzo, former education deputy director-general Monwabisi Tywakadi, deputy director for IT Tyrone Fourie, and Hermanus Smith, 47, who is the director of Siegesmund Trust appeared in the East London Magistrates court in connection with IT fraud amounting to R59 million.
The five were arrested by members of the Hawks East London Serious Corruption Investigation Team. Their complete list of charges include corruption, fraud, attempted fraud, theft and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
Gade said despite these challenges, the province is working towards changing situations in schools especially the ones in rural areas.
“We have 228 projects in various stages of construction. But our construction programme and the built environments economy has been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Gade.
Gade said the construction projects will be resuscitated in the current financial year and in 2022.
In April, DBE Minister Angie Motshekga revealed in the provincial infrastructure statistics that majority of schools in the Eastern Cape fail to meet the minimum standards prescribed under the South African Schools Act.
The statistics also revealed that a third of schools in the province had not received textbooks and more than 600 were not led by principals at the start of the first term.
“The public/private partnership can a leverage as an important mechanism for addressing our school infrastructure backlog,” said Gade.
Gade said they will continue to engage with treasury and other relevant government structures, including the private sector and civil society partners in exploring all options to resourcing the rollout of school infrastructure.