The Department of Basic Education is Broke! There is no money to rebuild Vuwani Schools
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga her department is broke or have no money to rebuild at-least 24 schools that were destroyed in the last week protest in Vuwani Limpopo but assured Government will pool together funds to rebuild schools that were burnt down.
“The department had not anticipated that 20 schools would be burnt down during a violent protest in Vuwani, in the Vhembe district.” said Minister Angie Motshekga
Speaking to the media ahead in parliament early today Minister Motshekga said “The money was given to us … (before the schools were burnt down in Vuwani). We … as government are pooling different resources from the different departments,”
Twenty(20) schools were burnt down to ashes, while four were damaged, with tribal offices, a satellite police station, and a Post Office torched in demarcation based protest around Vuwani area following a court judgement enforcing the municipal demarcations.
Government Vehicles were also damaged during a violent week-long protest in and around Vuwani.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that the department of Basic Education had been given R22.528 billion budget for 2016 to take care of all schools national-wide.
The money to rebuild the schools, she said, would not come from the department alone, saying that discussions — which include talks with National Treasury — are still taking place.
Minister Motshekga added that “we’ve asked the municipality to declare it as a disaster because it is a disaster”.
“There is no money … (for the Vuwani schools in this budget) … We just can’t afford even a cent from our budget. The province itself is just equally stretched, as a sector on our own we will not be able to carry the costs of repairing Vuwani,” said the Minister in response to a question.
As to the costs involved with rebuilding the schools, the Minister said it costs about R30 million to build a school.
She added that some schools which were close in proximity to each other will have to be merged.
“It’s not only bricks and mortar that has been lost; we’ve lost books and computers [among others]. We have to restock.”
The department’s Director General Mathanzima Mweli said he had a meeting with officials from Limpopo.
“The conservative figure that they worked out is around R200 million of which R45 million will be used for the deployment of mobile classrooms,” he said.
The Minister also expressed her concern with the time lost for learning.
“The time lost is just immense. In our sector, time is everything. Everyday must be a teaching day. We have 221 teaching days and the curriculum has to be completed. That’s why schools sometimes have Saturday classes because time is really of the essence,” she said.
She said while she was not expecting schooling to take place at Vuwani for the rest of this week, she does not know when schooling in the area will resume.
“I don’t know when schooling will start, it’s a concern. As the sector we have been meeting with officials to say as soon as things stabilise what is the plan to plough back what we’ve lost in terms of time and how are we going to recover,” she said.
However, while she is concerned about stability in the area, she described the Vhembe district as being one of the most resilient areas in the basic education sector.
“Despite its rurality and its high levels of poverty, Vuwani holds itself well among the other well to do districts. I’m not very concerned about our ability to bounce back, my concern is on stability returning as soon as possible,” she said