MEC Lesufi must stop teachers from disrupting learning

10 May 2017

Topaz Secondary School learners in Lenasia, South of Johannesburg have not attended classes since last week Wednesday as SADTU teachers embarked on protest action.

Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi must intervene as a matter of urgency to ensure that teaching and learning resumes as soon as possible.

While teachers have the right to air their grievances, this should not be to the detriment of quality educational outcomes.

Every child has a right to education and a school environment that is safe and conducive for learning.

The DA will follow up with MEC Lesufi to ensure that the differences between the teachers and the school principal does not continue to compromise the education of learners.

Media Enquiries

Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
082 398 7375

Charity Moyo
Media and Issues Specialist
074 787 3166

DA calls for investigation into extent of sexual abuse at our schools

It is with deep shock that we hear of yet another case of alleged sexual assault at our schools, as was reported by the Sunday Times today.

A water polo coach is accused of molesting more than 20 boys after video footage of the abuse emerged during a security sweep following an incident of theft.

It is horrendous that those in a position of trust and power continue to take advantage of learners in their care in such an obscene and destructive way.

While the DA applauds Parktown Boy’s High’s swift action in dealing with this matter, we need to ensure that more proactive measures are implemented as a way of flagging potential sexual abuse before it occurs.

The DA strongly encourages all affected learners, as well as those with information on this case, as well as others, to come forward, and share their stories. This needs to happen without fear of shaming or possible retribution against whistle-blowers.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has an obligation to ensure a safe teaching environment for all our learners, regardless of the school they attend.

The DA will write to the Chair of the Education Committee to initiate an investigation to ascertain the extent of sexual abuse at our province’s schools. It is only through full transparency and disclosure that we can hope to the eradicate what has become a scourge of our education system.

The DA will continue to fight for the rights of the most vulnerable in our society.
Media Enquiries
Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
082 398 7375
Theresa Lotter
Director: Research and Communications
060 963 8260

DA urges parents to use online school registration

The DA in Gauteng has noted that online school applications commence today and encourage all new grade 1 and 8 parents to begin the process of enrolling their children for the 2018 school year. In so doing they would also assist the Gauteng Department of Education in testing their systems.

The online application has many advantages. It saves parents time from queuing and informs the department about schools facing high demand for placement. This helps both parents and the
Department to prepare for a smooth start to the 2018 academic year.

However, there were problems experienced last year that led to many learners battling to be placed at schools of their choice on time this year.

Gauteng Premier, David Makhura indicated in his reply to the State of the Province Address in February that Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi would present a comprehensive plan on how the system would be improved this year.

The DA will ask the MEC to present the plan at the next committee meeting to ensure that the challenges faced last year are not repeated again and that all learners are placed on the first school day of 2018.
Media Enquiries

Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
082 398 7375
Warren Gwilt
Media Manager
073 601 6144

MEC Lesufi must eradicate risky asbestos schools in Gauteng

The DA has today visited Rust-Ter-Vaal Secondary school in Vereeniging to inspect progress made to upgrade the school from risky asbestos.

Last year Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi indicated that the project to upgrade the school to a brick and mortar structure was at the planning phase.

However, based on our visit, there is no indication that the school will be rebuilt any time soon. Some classrooms have no electricity, while others have broken windows and the building is riddled with cracks. Cracked and exposed asbestos poses a serious health risk.

Proper school infrastructure must be a priority. The Gauteng Department of Education has in the past failed to spend its allocated budget, and this year’s proposed budget has been significantly decreased. This will further hinder attempts to address the infrastructure backlog.

ICT classrooms at this school are also incomplete and have been since July last year. Teachers are finding it difficult to teach without smart boards as the old chalk boards were removed but not replaced.

The DA will table a motion in the Gauteng Legislature proposing that the MEC must do everything possible to eradicate all risky asbestos schools across Gauteng without delay, but that while asbestos schools remain in operation, there must be regular asbestos-risk testing for all teachers and learners forced to use these schools in Gauteng, to ensure that they are receiving the same quality of education as learners at better-facilitated schools.

Media Enquiries

Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
082 398 7375

Warren Gwilt
Media Manager
073 601 6144

Gauteng Education Department fails to provide sporting facilities to Tlhatlogang Secondary School

Today, I together with Councillor Lucas Kunene conducted an oversight visit to Tlhatlogang Secondary School in Mofolo, Soweto. The purpose of the visit was to assess the state of sporting facilities  after I received complaints from the community regarding the lack of Resources at the school.

I was very shocked to see that the school had no sporting facilities except for two old netball hoops (click here for photo) which are erected on a neglected field. This is despite the fact the school has produced a number of provincial and national sportsmen and women.

A number of learners at the school have competed and excelled at provincial, national and international level in different sporting codes although they have had no access to sporting equipment and fields.

Earlier this year, Tlhatlogang learners managed to compete in, and win a tennis tournament, which gave these learners an opportunity to participate in an international tournament in Australia.

It shows that despite the challenges they face, learners are still participating and excelling in different sporting codes.

One of the reasons is because learners are using community facilities in the area and the school management has also formed partnerships with other schools who have facilities.

I would therefore like to applaud the Pricipal and the School governing body who have not allowed the lack of facilities to impede learners.

However, it is regrettable that the Gauteng Education Department is failing these learners by not providing them with the equipment and facilities they need.

This failure by the provincial education department means many gifted learners are missing out on the opportunity they require to excel in their sporting codes.

I have therefore posed questions to the MEC for Educatin Panyaza Lesufi and MEC for Sports, Arts, Recreation and Culture Molebatsi Bopape asking them to provide plans on how they plan to address the lack of sporting facilities at Tlhatlogang Secondary School.

Media enquiries

Khume Ramulifho, MPL

DA Johannesburg Regional Chairperson

DA Gauteng Caucus Chairperson

DA Gauteng Education Shadow MEC

082 398 7375


Noordgesig Primary: MEC Lesufi must meet with parents

Government Engagement

Noordgesig Primary School parents are simply sick and tired of waiting on the Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, to address them with the many challenges the school faces. Most recently the school Principal has been suspended for arranging to have 40 pupils circumcised.

Parents do not want a statement from the MEC’s office saying that his department will probe the matter. MEC Lesufi must walk his talk and commit to a date to meet with disgruntled residents and parents of the school in Soweto.

Earlier this week the DA called for an investigation from the Public Protector as learners at the school will only see renovations at their school completed next year, despite R17,8 million being budgeted to fix the school last year.

This school is plagued with problems and it must collectively be addressed by the MEC, School Governing Body and the concerned residents and parents. Sustainable solutions must be sought in order to get to the bottom of the many challenges faced by the school and how it can be addressed.

The DA believes that the MEC has a responsibility to provide a safe and conducive learning environment at Noordgesig Primary School. All learners deserve quality education regardless of their circumstances. The school has been left unattended for far too long.

Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education

082 398 7375

Noordgesig Primary School renovations: Where is the money?

Delayed Renovations

Learners at Noordgesig Primary School in Soweto will only see renovations at their school completed next year, despite millions being budgeted to fix up the school since the 2010/11 financial year.

A 6-year wait to repair basic structures at the school equals 6 years of class disruptions for both learners and teachers.

In a reply to a DA question, the MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, revealed that since the 2010/11 financial year the department has budgeted just over R2 million for repairs and restoration at the school – and to date a total of R3,387 million was paid out to a consultancy firm and project contractor.

Not much has been done at the school despite the fact that close to R4 million has been allocated from a budget of just under R6 million over a 6-year period.

(Click here to view the reply)

What is even more alarming is the fact that the DA has in its possession a copy of the original contract which states that the contractor awarded with the tender received an astounding R17,8 million.

The department reported that construction at the school was completed in August of 2015 and had started renovations in November 2014.

The figures clearly do not add up and warrants an urgent investigation.

This also begs the question as to what happened to these funds and how it is possible that money allocated for renovations at Noordgesig could simply vanish.

How can it be possible to pay service providers for services delivered that are incomplete?

The total allocation for one medium sized school of 1576 learners to be rehabilitated by replacing asbestos classrooms with brick and mortar structures can simply not run into these millions, and over such an extended period.

Thousands of learners’ education has been disrupted due to the lack of urgency to have the school completely renovated within a year or two.

I shall write to the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, to investigate this matter and to track down the R17.8 million allocated to Noordgesig.

Those implicated in this scandal must be prosecuted with the full extent of the law.

The DA will be monitoring the progress or lack thereof of the renovations at Noordgesig, as this matter is completely unacceptable while learners continue to attend a school that is near to falling apart.

Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education

082 398 7375

[Image Source]

DA Gauteng condemns disruptions and vandalism at Braamfischerville Primary school

Lack of Response

The DA condemns the latest disruption and vandalism at Braamfischerville Primary School today where one classroom has been set alight and other facilities damaged. While the community has genuine concerns, the approach must not deny learners the opportunity to learn.

Community members are fed up with the lack of responsiveness from the Gauteng Education Department to build a brick and mortar school, so that all learners have proper schools in Braamfischerville. Some people decided to take this matter in their own hands.

It is unfortunate that violence and vandalism are continually seen as the best methods to get the Provincial Governments attention.

Neglected Communities

The DA believes that the School Governing Body must be empowered to represent the parents in engaging with the department. Destroying school facilities is irresponsible and unacceptable.

The Department of Education has set aside R2.5 billion for school infrastructure. There are currently five schools under construction in Braamfischerville. Earlier this month, the DA conducted site inspections to ascertain whether the projects will be ready for the 2016 academic year.

While it’s important to build new settlements, part of the plan must be to build school infrastructure and health facilities for community members. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Braamfischerville where residents were allocated to the area without the facilities it needs to empower the residents in the community.

The DA will engage with the disgruntled community members to take up their fight with the Gauteng Provincial Government. To ascertain whether there are plans to build a brick and mortar school and the time frame to do so.

Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education

082 398 7375

[Image Source]

MEC rebuffs AG report in awarding contracts in contravention of the law


Non Compliance

Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, has rejected the Auditor General’s (AG) 2014/15 report finding that the department awarded tenders for goods and services above R500 000 without inviting competitive bids as required by law.

The AG found that the Department acted in contravention of National Treasury Regulations as well as the Preferential Procurement Regulations. Contracts were awarded to suppliers without tax clearance certificates.

However, MEC Lesufi states otherwise in his reply to a DA question on said contracts. The MEC indicated that the department was under pressure and did not want to hamper service delivery.

(Click here to view the reply)

Service delivery at the expense of due process and regulations does not justify the MECs response, and it will open the doors to corruption.

The contracts were for:

  • Repairs to a school damaged in an act of nature;
  • The scholar transport tender which was challenged in court;
  • Maintenance of e-labs;
  • The asset management system;
  • School nutrition; and
  • Supply of school furniture.

The abovementioned contracts were not listed in the reply by the MEC, only school nutrition, asset management and scholar transport appeared on the list of awardees. This begs the question as to why the MEC would allow his department to conduct business in contravention of the law.

Questions cannot continue to go unanswered when at all cost the executive must protect and uphold the law in which the MEC has taken the oath of office.

The DA will probe this matter further when the MEC appears before the committee to present the department’s annual report and clarifies all financial irregularities identified by the AG – and recommend remedial action.

Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education

082 398 7375


Good luck, Gauteng matriculants!

Good Luck!

The DA wishes all matriculants writing the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination of 2015 best of luck and we encourage all the candidates to stay focused and to close their 12 year chapter with great success.

We hope that all examination testing centres and the dispatching of exam papers are ready and secured and that the Gauteng Education Department has put in place measures to root out fraud and corruption during this time.

The DA believes that each and every South African must be given a fair chance to succeed in life. The windows of opportunity are wide open for all matriculants that wish to make a success of this year’s examination.

The future of this province and the country depends on hard working and innovative young people.

We wish to take the number one spot with the most bachelor’s passes and distinctions in the country.

Best of luck to the class of 2015.

Media enquiries:
Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
082 398 7375