EC education placed under administration

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pretoria - Government has placed the embattled Eastern Cape Education Department under administration following a string of reports pointing to inefficiency and maladministration in the department over the past weeks. 

Cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga was expected to outline the details when she meets with provincial authorities in East London on Thursday. 

The move comes as officials in that province admitted to have overspent the department's budget by a whopping R1.8 billion. The department was also under fire from unions and parents who demanded that it reinstate about 6 000 temporary teachers whose contracts were terminated due to lack of funds. Added to this was the decision by authorities to suspend the school nutrition programme and scholar transport, leaving thousands of pupils hungry and stranded. 

During the State of The Nation Address last month, President Jacob Zuma warned of government intervention in the department as it continued to be plagued by governance and administrative issues.

The province had also suspended about 100 senior managers with Premier Noxolo Kiviet last week, saying more were scheduled for disciplinary hearings and dismissals have been sanctioned already. 

Following this week's ordinary Cabinet meeting, Manyi said it was agreed that the national government should intervene "to maintain essential national standards" of education in the province, while at the same time ensuring that established minimum standards were met. 

"Cabinet is of the firm view that this intervention, which is being made in the spirit of cooperative governance, will pave the way for an immediate resolution to all pressing matters in the provincial Department of Education," he said.

Section 100 (b) of the Constitution gives the state powers to take over the running of any government department or public institution should it deem fit. - BuaNews