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DA to seek answers over closure of nearly 2 000 non-viable Eastern Cape schools

MARCH 23, 2017
DA to seek answers over closure of nearly 2 000 non-viable Eastern Cape schools

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says that it will on Thursday submit Parliamentary questions to find out whether the closing of 3 257 schools across seven African National Congress (ANC)-governed provinces over the next three years, will follow due and proper processes. Nearly 2000 of the affected schools are in the Eastern Cape.

According to Nomsa Marchesi MP, the DA's Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, currently, education departments across the country have or will be embarking on rationalising schools:

  • 41 schools in Mpumalanga,
  • 50 schools in the Northern Cape,
  • 73 schools in Limpopo,
  • 93 schools in the Free State,
  • 233 schools in the North West,
  • 865 schools in KwaZulu-Natal, and
  • 1 902 schools in the Eastern Cape.

"Rationalisation is the practice of discontinuing schools that have become unviable due to a number of reasons, including a decline in enrolment , as set out in a national Department of Basic Education document called Guidelines for the Rationalisation of Small and Non-viable Schools, while balancing this with the right to basic education in terms of Section 29(1) (a) of the Constitution," she explained.

"The closure of schools is aimed at improving the quality of education and accelerating the resourcing of schools."

Marchesi said that in 2012, when the Western Cape education Department (WCED) earmarked 27 schools for rationalisation, it was decided to close 20 schools after the WCED actively engaged with stakeholders as prescribed by law.

"After protracted litigation, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in the WCED’s favour in 2014.

"Yet, the ANC led protest marches, petitions and even reported the Western Cape government to the South African Human Rights Commission, which can only be described as political opportunism on the part of the ruling party. The hypocritical ANC continuously criticised the WCED for following due process," she added.

"Yet, within an ANC-governed Eastern Cape, where the education system is already in disarray, nearly 2000 schools are about to be closed.

"Should the replies to our questions confirm that proper processes were not followed, the DA will investigate all avenues to ensure the provincial departments are held accountable.

"The blatant double standards of the ANC government is unacceptable. The same fervour which the ANC used to condemn the Western Cape’s school rationalisation should be applied to the actions of its very own government."