Funding bungles mirror poor matric results
Three of the country's provincial education departments cannot explain what they did with more than R44-billion allocated to them in the past financial year.
Meisie Nkau, business executive in the office of the auditor-general, told Parliament yesterday that only three of the country's provincial education departments were given clean audits for the 2009-2010 financial year - Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Presenting the audit outcomes of all provinces to the parliamentary portfolio committee for basic education, Nkau said the worst managers of public money were the education departments of Eastern Cape, Limpopo and North West.
The audit report of each department included a disclaimer by the auditor-general to the effect that he could not verify entries in their accounts because they were not supported by documentation.
The Eastern Cape and Limpopo education departments produced matric results that were among the country's worst last year.
The Free State, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape audits were qualified because of auditors' concerns.
Nkau told stunned MPs: "There was a lack of internal controls totally. It is disappointing to note that three of the nine provinces regressed when we should be working towards a clean administration.
"The deficiencies open gaps for fraud, and for irregular and wasteful expenditure," she said
Compounding the problem, she said, was poor oversight by provincial MECs, their heads of department and chief financial officers.
The lion's share of the national education budget, R123-billion, goes to the provinces.
Eastern Cape, the worst province in terms of financial management, received R20-billion from the Treasury but could not explain how R1.5-billion of it was spent. Many children in the province are still taught in open fields and under trees.
DA education spokesman Wilmot James yesterday announced the launch of a campaign to identify under-resourced schools and determine the effects of wasteful expenditure, corruption and bad management.
James will begin in Eastern Cape with visits to seven "mud schools" that are taking the government to court alleging that it has failed to provide adequate buildings.
After the auditor-general's presentation to the portfolio committee, ANC MP Nomalungelo Gina asked: "Are we going to continue giving them money whereas they can't account? What are the steps we are going to take because we can't allow this?"
A study by Stellenbosch University has shown that almost half (47%) the Grade 3 pupils in Western Cape cannot read and write to the required standard. In addition, only 35% are sufficiently skilled in maths.
The Western Cape education department commissioned the study to assess performance in the foundation grades of 45 schools.
It was found that teachers often did not "set the bar high enough for children" and that pupils did not have all the text books they needed.
"It was also found that there is limited reading and writing in classrooms," said Bronagh Casey, spokesman for education MEC Donald Grant.
Van der Berg and his team made several recommendations, including limiting classes to 40 pupils and grouping schools according to their performance to allow "for far greater targeted and specific assistance to under-performing schools".
Principals will have to present quarterly reports to the department, detailing how much of the curriculum they have covered.
Education expert Graham Bloch said literacy and numeracy levels in Western Cape and Gauteng, though unacceptable, were higher than in the rest of the country.
"Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga perform badly in all phases.
"These are poorer, more rural provinces [in which] parents are generally more submissive - unlike parents in Western Cape or Gauteng, who are more likely to put pressure on the system to improve conditions at schools," he said.
Best Comment by PWS80:
It is not often that I have to concede that I was wrong.
I have maintained for over a year now that the ANC steals R50 BILLION a year from us. A gross under estimation on my part. I apologise.
Just two departments account for R54,5 BILLION a year - Social Security (under Social Development?) at R10,5 billion, and Education at R44 Billion.
There are 44 National Departments or ministries
Then we have all the various government companies, like BlueIQ, Eskom, Transnet, Denel, SAA, etc where billions more "disappear".
Assuming some efficiency in some departments, an extrapolation could conclude as much as R150 Billion a year "disappearing.
Add to the the R97 Billion in Bling expenditure, the extra R1 TRILLION that the power stations are going to cost us because of ANC incompetence, and we find that the choice of the ANC as government over the last ten years alone has cost us in excess of R2,5 TRILLION.
Note, I haven't even factored the conservative number, as provided by Gordhan, of tenders costing us 25% MORE than they should because of crony allocation.
Looking at it another way, we could have ZERO RATE VAT on EVERYTHING, and still had change, if these blatant theft, bling spending and mismanagement did not occur.
What R2,5 TRILLION could have bought us:
- The entire Eskom power station rollout, with R1,5 Trillion change
- 50,000 additional schools
- 10,000 additional hospitals
- 35,714,000 RDP houses
- 1,300 YEARS of the additional salaries requirements that would have prevented the latest strikes.
- An increase from R3000 to R21,000 per year in child support grants, for 10 YEARS.
You got the government you voted for. Well done, you must be so proud.
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