DA calls on Education MEC to account for misspent millions

Democratic Alliance media statement by Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL

DA spokesperson on Education

DA calls on Education MEC to account for misspent millions

 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is deeply alarmed by the latest Auditor-General’s findings which show that KwaZulu-Natal’s Depart of Education (DoE) misspent millions, with almost R20 million in wasteful and fruitless expenditure and more than R4 billion in irregular expenditure.

Despite an annual budget of more than R50 billion, this Department, under MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane remains under immense financial pressure. This makes it all the more important that every single rand is spent prudently.

To add to this, the A-G also highlighted in his audit that ‘effective and appropriate steps were not taken to prevent irregular expenditure’. This leaves the budget open to corruption. The majority of this irregular expenditure was found to be from the National Schools Nutrition Programme tender that was set aside on the basis of allegations of corruption.

This financial misconduct has a direct impact on learners, educators and individual schools within KZN. Our province’s schools are already severely underfunded in terms of departmental funds transferred to schools as Norms and Standards, with the DoE admitting in its 2018/19 Budget, that it needed R752 million to meet the national norm.

Currently, the Department funds the poorest schools – those that fall within Quintiles 1, 2 & 3 – at R955 per learner. This is way below the national recommendation of R1 243 per learner. These funds are used for maintenance of schools, paying municipal bills, security, textbooks and stationery.

These funds are also supposed to be in support of our poorest learners who go to No-Fee schools. Yet due to the massive mismanagement of funds, the Department has wasted more than R4 billion in irregular expenditure and alleged corruption. This is money that should have been transferred to schools to improve the conditions of our learners and teachers. Instead many remain in a deplorable state due lack of maintenance, with some schools having their electricity and water cut due to non-payment.

The A-G’s findings have again highlighted how little this failed ANC government cares about the interests of both learners and teachers in KwaZulu-Natal. The DA expects MEC Dlungwana to account to the province’s Education portfolio committee for his failure to properly monitor funds within his Department.

Education is the best tool to empower our future generation to escape from the poverty trap. The DA will continue to fight for learners to get the funding needed to create educational opportunities and we will continue to fight against corruption and mismanagement within the Department of Education.

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