The French ambassador to South Africa, David Martinon, will later this afternoon (Friday) award knighthood in the French Legion of Honor to Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education.
Motshekga will receive the order of “knight of the legion of honor” at around 15:00 for “her commitment to access to quality education, inclusive education, the challenge of employability of the youth and as a partner for educational cooperation between South Africa and the French Republic”.
The event will take place at the French Embassy in Pretoria.
However, the DA does not feel this honor goes to Motshekga.
In fact, the opposition party feels the minister should refuse the title. The party therefore sent a letter to the French ambassador in South Africa in which he requested that the minister not receive the title “knight of the legion of honour”.
“To receive the order of the Legion of Honour, an individual must have a good reputation and have rendered excellent service to a nation,” says Baxolile “Bax” Nodada, the DA’s spokesperson for basic education.
“Minister Motshekga and her department have failed miserably in providing quality education to South African youth and condemned them to a lifetime of poverty, unemployment and hunger.
Nodada then points out that gr. 4 learners in South Africa according to the latest research on global reading literacy (PIRLS 2021) are among the worst readers in the world. Eight out of ten of these learners (81%) cannot read with understanding.
“South Africa’s teaching quality does not meet international or even regional standards. In 2022, a total of 1,575 unqualified teachers taught. A Southern and East African Consortium for Monitoring the Quality of Education (SACMEQ) which attempted to measure teachers’ knowledge of subject material found that South Africa is far behind its African counterparts. Gr. 6 teachers achieved results below 50% (41% for mathematics and 37% for reading subjects).
“Overcrowding and dropouts remain a massive problem. The dropout rate for the 2022 matric class was 31.8% (337,364 learners), which means that only 54.6% of the learners who progressed to matric passed.
“The learners who do stay in schools must try to obtain their education in dire circumstances.”
Nodada then reminds that the minister himself revealed in response to a written parliamentary question from the DA that 471 schools still do not have proper sanitation facilities. A total of 5,201 schools still have pit toilets.
“The fact that Minister Motshekga believes her dismal performance deserves to be honored shows how out of touch she is with the people she is supposed to serve.
“If the minister had any honor, she would refuse this award and refocus her focus on providing South African learners with quality education.”