Minister knew about teacher shortages but ignored them - DA

BY CHARL BOSCH - JULY 30, 2015

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has accused Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, of failing to address the shortage of teacher positions in the troubled Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth.

A reported three suspects were arrested and police, as well as journalists, pelted with stones after residents took to the streets on Monday morning, demanding the filling of positions at 33 schools across the area. It has since been reported that all institutions are expected to re-open today.

Speaking in a statement, DA Shadow Minister for Basic Education, Annette Lovemore, said Motshekga had known about the high vacancy rate for some time, but chose to wait until the situation “reached crisis proportions”.

“The Minister announced in her budget speech last year that she intended to utilise Section 8 of the National Education Policy Act (NEPA) to ensure high standards of education. Yet it is obvious that she has not done so, despite the clear infringement of the constitutional right to basic education,” Lovemore said.

“The problem is widespread in the Eastern Cape, beyond Port Elizabeth alone. Many hundreds of children in the Eastern Cape are being denied their constitutional right to education through the chronic systemic failure of the province’s education department, thus the Minister has full standing to request a turnaround plan from the Eastern Cape and to table it in Parliament”.

Lovemore also described Motshekga’s comments in January that “no learner would be without a teacher” as nothing but “empty promises” and that the sudden appointing of 45 teachers, won’t make the problems go away.

“This does nothing to address the wider Eastern Cape problem of teacher vacancy, of which the Minister is aware, in the rest of the province. The Minister must now demand a turnaround report form the MEC in the Eastern Cape and table this report in Parliament,” she said.