Freedom Front Plus
Freedom Front Plus

Money from schools’ infrastructure fund used for Covid-19 supplies – must be rectified quickly

Billions of rand from the Department of Basic Education's infrastructure fund was used to purchase supplies needed for combating Covid-19.

This was gleaned from a remark made by the Director-general of Basic Education, Hubert Mweli, during a joint meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education in the National Assembly and the Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sport, Arts and Culture in the National Council of Provinces.

In the meeting, the Department's annual performance plan was submitted to the committees for approval. As could be expected, the Director-general said that the plan was devised before the Covid-19 crisis and that it must be fundamentally revised.

The committees could not come to a consensus on whether the plan should be approved and later amended or whether approval should be reserved for the final amended version. Thus, the decision is being held over.

During question and answer time, various members expressed their concern about the Department's state of readiness, particularly due to the backlog with regard to infrastructure. In response to this, the Director-general revealed the shocking news that the infrastructure fund was used for Covid-19 supplies.

During the same meeting, the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, stated that no-one knows when schools are going to reopen. However, during the previous committee meeting, 6 May was put forward as the date on which learners must return to school but then with the official announcement, 1 June was given as the date.

The Minister has now emphasised that it was merely a proposal that was submitted to the co-called Command Council that must ultimately give approval. The date will be decided based on the readiness of schools and the spread of the virus.

The FF Plus is on record for saying that educational institutions that are able to reopen while ensuring safety, must be granted the opportunity to do so. It will allow these schools to identify the best practices.

In the meantime, the FF Plus trusts that the reformulation of the state budget, which must take place soon, will earmark enough money for schools’ infrastructure.



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