Such services include access to water and safe sanitation.
DA MPL Jane Sithole released the party’s information in a statement as a rebuttal to education MEC Reginah Mhaule’s promise to eradicate the basic services backlog that schools throughout the province are suffering.
During her budget speech earlier this year, Mhaule promised that the current financial year would see 178 schools benefiting from the eradication of the basic services backlog and her department set aside a budget of R241 million to achieve this, she said.
“While it initially seemed like the MEC was serious about eradicating this problem, the department’s plans and actions tell a different story.”
The department’s “Basic Services – Water, Sanitation, and Electricity” document for the current financial year gave details of when these 178 projects should have started and when they were to be completed.
Of the 178 projects, 162 should have commenced in January this year to be completed by December 2015. The remaining 16 projects were to begin in the new financial year starting on April 5, 2015.
Sithole said a snap survey of some of the schools listed by the department that should have benefited from the MEC’s promise confirmed that although they had been waiting for the department to start with the projects, nothing had been done at this point.
“A few schools reported that they had been visited by the department a month ago and measurements had been taken. However, no contractor or materials have been delivered,” she said.
The learning conditions of children in Mpumalanga schools were in stark contrast to schools in the DA-led Western Cape, were 100 percent of schools listed on the National Education Infrastructure Management System (NEIMS) database had access to adequate sanitation.
The DA believed in constant innovation to improve the education system. This included the maintenance of good physical infrastructure at schools, as this enhanced access to quality education, while inadequate and poorly maintained infrastructure compromised pupils.
“A proper learning environment is essential to ensure success in the classroom,” Sithole said.