The Limpopo education department needs R20 billion to catch up with its infrastructure backlog this financial year, the department said yesterday.
Departmental MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe said this was revealed in a study conducted by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. Kgetjepe said he did not think government financed health and education enough, looking at the challenges the two departments faced each year.
He said his department was given a R1,7 billion infrastructure grant last financial year but that the budget was since reduced to R830 million this year.
“Little as it is, the Limpopo provincial government, under the tutelage of Premier Stan Mathabatha, gave us an additional R100 million, making a total infrastructure grant of R930 million.
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“The money is insufficient for the provision of new infrastructure, as well as the maintenance, rehabilitation and upgrading of existing infrastructure,” said Kgetjepe during an official handing-over of Samson Nwamitwa Secondary School outside Tzaneen over the weekend.
Ironically, each year education receives the fattest slice of the province’s annual budget and the same trend is reflected in the Gauteng provincial annual budget. Research by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) disclosed last week that the province further needed R2 billion to build 41 000 school toilets across the province this financial year.
The site visit by the NCOP discovered that a sizeable number of schools in the province had no toilets at all. The NCOP further discovered that about 50 schools either had no water at all or bought borehole water at exorbitant prices.
The research further revealed 16 schools in the province still had no electricity, whic made preparations for examinations difficult for pupils.
Kgetjepe said some of the backlog was created when Limpopo was placed under administration in 2012 after former premier Cassel Mathale’s leadership failed to account for R2.7 billion.
A fortnight ago, NCOP chairperson for the select committee on education, Lynette Zwane, agreed urgent intervention was needed for effective learning and teaching in Limpopo.