Eastern Cape Schools of shame: 1 174 yet to receive furniture; 350 000 learners still without desks

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - NOVEMBER 20, 2014

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday accused President Jacob Zuma of breaking his promises to Eastern Cape schools.

In his State of the Nation address on 17 June 2014 (read full address here), President Zuma promised that every school in the Eastern Cape would have desks by August of this year.

"We have begun piloting this new approach with the centralised procurement of school furniture in the Eastern Cape. The furniture will be delivered in all Eastern Cape schools by the middle of August 2014," the President said then.  

“But in a recent Parliamentary reply received from the Minister of Basic Education indicates that 1 174 schools have not yet received the desks and other furniture they need,” Desiree van der Walt, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, said in a statement.

“This means that more than 350 000 learners still do not have the desks they need for a proper education. This is a disgrace and an insult to our children, who deserve a decent education.”

She said in February 2014, Judge Glenn Goosen of the Mthatha High Court ordered the government and the Eastern Cape provincial education department to provide every public school in the province with adequate school furniture before May 31 2014.

“The President, the Basic Education Minister and the Eastern Cape provincial government are therefore all in contempt of court as well,” van der Walt said.

“I will write to the Minister to demand an explanation and a plan to fix this crisis.

“We will do everything we can to fight for decent and high quality education for every single child in South Africa. The future of our country depends on it.”