School vandalism will harm future of children, SAPS national intelligence must investigate

Recent vandalism of schools in Gauteng have the very likely potential of harming the future of students, unfairly leaving them without much-needed resources for learning and teaching. The Democratic Alliance (DA) condemns the vandalism of 54 schools in Gauteng since the beginning of the year.

It is terribly concerning that schools continue to be a target for criminals and that both the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) and Community Safety have dismally failed to prevent such incidents of vandalism, theft, and burglaries, where the GDE continues to lose millions of rands repairing and replacing resources stolen and damaged during these incidents. 

Such money could be used to eradicate asbestos schools to protect the health of vulnerable children, and also fix deteriorating infrastructure across the province to ensure a conducive learning and teaching environment.

 The department’s school’s safety strategy is ineffective, and it is evident through the number of vandalism cases reported.

This is a clear indication that the South African Police Service (SAPS) is also failing to prioritise school safety with adequate police visibility. 

The DA has tabled questions to the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to ascertain what measures are being put in place to safeguard our schools and the number of cases, arrests and convictions that have been made so far.

We are calling on the SAPS intelligence unit to urgently investigate the syndicates that are involved in vandalism, theft, and burglary of our schools so that the perpetrators can be apprehended and there is a stop to this criminal element. 

Furthermore, DA proposals such as installation of fences or walls surrounding schools, installation of CCTV cameras and alarm systems in hotspot schools linked to the nearest police stations, night shift patrollers to safeguard schools, and the co-operation of community members would make a profound difference in preventing such incidents from happening again. 

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Parents and stakeholders must ensure schooling resumes with no disruptions so children can learn in peace

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng calls on parents and different stakeholders across the province to ensure that learning and teaching resume on Monday, 26 July 2021 with no disruption to cover for the time lost due to the early closure of the schools as a result of the Covid-19 infections spike.  Children across the province deserve to resume with learning in peace, considering the many hiccups experienced since the beginning of the year.

Due to the sudden change to level 4 lockdown last month, schools had closed earlier than scheduled for winter break. This has resulted in students losing out on school time and falling behind with the curriculum.

Even though there is a rotational learning and teaching system in place as a result of this pandemic, the number of schooling days have been limited for certain grades which are not enough for effective learning and teaching.

The DA shares the concerns of parents and different stakeholders that the Covid-19 pandemic is severely affecting the education sector. However, we do not support any delays in the re-opening of schools.

 We also welcome the rapid vaccination of 92% of teachers and support staff to date. This is positive development in the sector and the DA is encouraging all education employees to take vaccines to ensure that there will be no disruption of schooling going forward.

Furthermore, the Gauteng Department of Education has reassured us that they are ready to resume schooling on Monday as all schools would have received their personal protective equipment (PPEs) on Friday.

The DA is appealing to parents and different stakeholders to allow children to go to school when they re-open tomorrow. We believe that all education stakeholders must do their best to ensure that we protect the future of our children.

We will continue to conduct oversight inspections to different schools across the province to ensure that there are adequate PPEs and resources so that learning and teaching are not affected. In schools where there is no bulk water supply networks, we will ensure that these schools are provided with elevated tanks and water is delivered timeously every day. The DA will report all the issues to the Gauteng Department of Education which has a responsibility to fix and deliver resources to our schools.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit to check your voter registration status. 


Learners suffer overcrowded classrooms because of wasted millions on school decontamination

Thousands of children are being taught in overcrowded classrooms yet the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) is failing to recover over R430 million wasted on the decontamination of schools.

This money could be used in ensuring that our learners are taught in a conducive learning environment where their educational development can be nurtured.

The Gauteng Department of Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi must use the Special Investigative Unit’s (SIU) investigation progress report as evidence to suspend the department’s top officials.

This follows the recent announcement by the SIU that they have been granted a preservation order to freeze seven more accounts of service providers appointed to decontaminate Gauteng schools.

The DA has already called on MEC Lesufi to suspend the department’s Head of Department (HOD), Edward Mosuwe, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Johan van Coller and Supply Chain Management Chief Director, Samora Mhlophe.

This was after the SIU released report findings indicating that 173 service providers appointed to decontaminate Gauteng schools were not accredited and not on the Central Supplier Database.

It is strange that MEC Lesufi has not yet acted on these top officials considering that the department irregularly spent more than R431 million on the decontamination of schools within three months.

The SIU’s job is enough to compel MEC Lesufi to take action.

The progress made so far by the SIU is commendable and we believe that the recovered money can also go a long way to eradicate asbestos schools.

This will ensure that no child will have their health put in danger while trying to achieve an education.

The SIU has been granted a second order to freeze bank accounts of seven companies with the sum of R22.4 million.

This is an addition to the 14 accounts of service providers that were frozen with the sum of R40.7 million.

In total so far, the bank accounts of 21 companies have been frozen, and about R63.1 million can be recovered.

The good work done so far by the SIU will be in vain if the HOD, CFO and the Supply Chain Management Chief Director are not held accountable for failing to adequately review and monitor compliance in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act and treasury regulations.

It is high time that these officials face the consequences of their irresponsible actions that costed the ability of our children to be taught in a conducive learning environment.

The DA will not let MEC Lesufi sweep this matter under the rug.

We will continue to hound him to suspend the officials responsible for this wasteful expenditure, as well as recover the wasted money.

This money could be used to build new classrooms and eradicate asbestos schools , so that children from across the province can have a suitable environment to learn and grow.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit to check your voter registration status.

Education-deserving children failed by department with delayed school allocations

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is infuriated that there are still learners in the province who have not yet been allocated schools since the beginning of the 2021 academic year, where these learners continue to miss out on much-needed schooling while other learners are progressing with the curriculum.

I have received many phone calls and messages from desperate, frustrated, and angry parents and guardians whose children have not attended school since the start of the 2021 academic year. Many of these parents claim that they have applied on time, yet their children have not been allocated schools. These parents cannot afford to send their children to private schools, resulting in their children sitting at home with no hope of whether they will ever attend school this year.

These learners have already been impacted negatively by the Covid-19 pandemic and sitting at home is making things worse for them. During my visits to schools across the province, I have seen the adoption of the rotational system where learners only attend school twice a week, which is not enough for effective learning and teaching.

A great injustice is being done, where learners are being deprived of their right to access basic education.

The South African Schools Act makes it compulsory for any child between the age of 6 to 16 years-old to attend school and by not allocating schools to these learners, the department is demonstrating their disregard for the wellbeing of these children.

In response to the plight of these parents, the DA has sent a list of names of the children who are still waiting to be allocated schools to the Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi. However, to date, these children have not yet been placed.

Furthermore, the department has tabled a misleading report claiming that all learners in Gauteng have been placed which is not the case and the DA has subsequently disputed the report.

The DA is urgently calling on MEC Lesufi to allocate schools to all unplaced learners in the province. We will also continue to put pressure on MEC Lesufi to consider the DA’s proposal to immediately open the online admission process for the 2022 academic year so that the finalisation of all schools’ placement can be concluded in October this year. By so doing, this will ensure that no learner misses a day of schooling when the new academic year begins and there is no repeat of what occurred this year. Education is the only hope for the future of children and must never be compromised.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit to check your voter registration status.

Gauteng Government resolves to issue liquor licenses to liquor outlets located closer to schools, churches, community amenities

The Gauteng Provincial Government has resolved not to subject shebeens to the provisions of section 23 of the Gauteng Liquor Act and other strict provisions, in order to assist shebeen operators, and promote open and legal liquor trade.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

MEC Tau states that pre-inspections are not conducted, and permits are granted to shebeens located closer to places of learning, places of worship, other community amenities and similar liquor outlets.

Virginia Tavern which was established after the Klipspruit West Secondary School is one of the examples. This tavern, which is situated on San Salvador Street in Klipspruit West; opposite Klipspruit West Secondary School was granted a shebeen permit on 17 August 2006 by the Gauteng Liquor Board in terms of Section 141(1)(m) of the Gauteng Liquor Act of 2003.

MEC Tau states that the tavern was not inspected before issuing a permit because the Act does not make provision for inspection, as shebeens are exempted from complying with the provisions of the Act.

It is deeply concerning that the Gauteng Liquor Board continuously approves liquor licenses that are against the Gauteng Liquor Act.

The Gauteng Liquor Act, Section 23(3) states that notice of the application shall include the full names of the applicant, intended trading name, identity number or registration number of the applicant, full address and location of the premises, the type of licence applied for, names and nature of educational institutions, names of and distances to similar licensed premises and places of worship within a radius of one (1) kilometre from the premises.

Section 30(3) further states that “The Board shall grant an application in the case of premises not situated within a radius of five hundred (500) metres in the vicinity of a place of worship, educational institution, similar licensed premises, public transport facility, or such further distance as the Board may determine or as may be prescribed from time to time.”

We should not be approving liquor licences that tempt learners of an educational institution who are under the age of 18 years.

One of the biggest social and health problems that we have as a nation is substance abuse, in particular alcohol abuse.

At the end of the day, it looks like almost all liquor licences applications are not subject to the Gauteng Liquor Act considering how many shebeens, bottle stores and other establishments operate within the radius as set out in the Act.

I will be writing further questions asking when these provisions were relaxed and to ascertain whether there were any amendments to the Act.

DA urges parents and guardians to participate in the upcoming SGB elections

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng calls on all parents and guardians to participate in the upcoming School Governing Body (SGB) elections, scheduled to start on Monday, 15th March 2021.

The SGB plays a significant role in schools, responsible for the everyday management, as well as making decisions on policies that are suitable for the school such as language and admissions.

The DA encourages parents and guardians to ensure that they elect the right and responsible SGB members who can engage with the department on raising issues which affect learning and teaching.

The SGB must also monitor governance issues at schools to ensure that teachers are fulfilling learning outcomes, and that curriculums are completed before the sitting of final examinations.

However, it is troubling that in some schools, SGB members directly interfere with learning and teaching, and fights on who gets tender tO maintain schools resulting in unnecessary disruptions. Further to this, some parents and guardians participate in SGB elections for personal gain. Learners must never be compromised by such actions and motivations.

This is why it is critical for parents and guardians to actively participate in these elections and ensure new SGB leadership committed to act in the best interest of learners and go the extra mile to ensure efficient learning and teaching.

105 cases of burglary and vandalism opened by Gauteng schools since beginning of the year

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is shocked to learn that 105 cases of burglary and vandalism have been opened by Gauteng schools since the beginning of the year.

This was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko in a written reply to the DA’s questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to MEC Mazibuko, the following schools in Gauteng have opened cases of burglary in 2021: Orlando High School in Soweto, Sebokeng Community Learning Centre, WF Nkomo Secondary School in Atteridgeville, Mthombo Primary School in Mamelodi and Tshepisong Primary School in Kagiso.

Of these cases reported, only 6 arrests have been made, with all cases still under investigation.

Furthermore, most of the suspects arrested are repeat offenders and still on trial for other charges.

It is concerning that our schools continue to be a target for criminals and that both the Gauteng Department of Education and Community Safety have dismally failed to prevent the incidents of theft and burglaries.

The DA believes that there are more cases than the 105 cases of burglary and vandalism that have been reported, as many schools in different regions have experienced incidents of theft, burglary, and vandalism since the beginning of the year.

It is very worrying that the Gauteng Department of Education continues to lose millions of rands in theft, burglaries, and vandalism while not much is being done to safeguard assets.

These incidents clearly indicate an ineffective school safety strategy and that South African Police Service (SAPS) is failing to prioritise the safety of schools.

There is also a need for community members to take ownership of the schools. Also strengthening the relationship with law enforcement agencies to prioritize school safety.

There is also a great need to put fences or walls surrounding the schools to ensure safety.

The DA calls on the SAPS to ensure that all cases reported are investigated and result in convictions. They should also prioritise school safety by ensuring police visibility across all schools.

Braamfischer Primary School infrastructure not conducive for learning and teaching


Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng conducted oversight inspections at three schools in Braamfischer in Soweto, and were shocked to discover the terrible state of learning and teaching at the Braamfischer Primary School.

Learners were found not to be observing social distancing protocols, while the school remains overcrowded due to 15 mobile container classrooms located at the construction site that remain inaccessible.

The construction concerns the new brick and mortar classrooms that are still being built.

Some of the classroom containers are old, dilapidated, with the staff room not occupied, while the containers are not being used for safety reasons. 

Due to some overcrowded container classrooms, other learners are being taught outside with no shade because of the inadequate space to accommodate all the learners.

The construction of the brick and mortar classrooms began April 2017 , with unnecessary delays in completing the project.  The school holiday period should have been used to finish the construction and avoid any delays in opening the new learning spaces. 

This clearly indicates that there was no proper preparation done for the opening of the 2021 academic year at this school.

Oversight inspections were also conducted at the Moses Kotane Primary School and the Siyabonga Secondary School where learning and teaching resumed well without any disruptions. These schools received all their study materials and protective personnel equipment on time.

The DA calls on the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi to urgently intervene at the Braamfischer Primary School to ensure that the environment is conducive for learning and teaching, and that standard health protocols are adhered to.

We also call on the MEC to ensure that all unplaced learners are allocated schools before the end of the week.

The DA believes that no learner should be deprived access to education and that it is the responsibility of the department to ensure that all learners are accommodated.

Nokuthula LSEN still not fully functional despite MEC Motara’s proclamation that the school can be fully utilised

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng conducted an oversight inspection at Nokuthula LSEN School in Lyndhurst and we were disappointed to discover that the school is still not being fully utilised despite that the Gauteng Infrastructure Development MEC, Tasneem Motara stating that all facilities at the school are open and can be fully utilised.

MEC Motara was responding to my oral questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) on Tuesday.

During the oversight inspection at the school we also discovered that the school is still operating on a temporary occupational certificate hence it is still not being fully occupied.

The school can only be fully occupied once it have been issued with a permanent occupational certificate.

This means that the dormitories are still not being utilised and learners are forced to commute everyday to school.

This clearly indicates that MEC Motara misled the House by stating that all facilities at the school are open and can be fully utilised.

The permanent occupational certificate will only be issued once all outstanding matters relating to site development and building plans have been addressed.

The DA calls on MEC Motara to provide a timeframe as to when the defects at the school will be fixed as the department has set aside a budget of R2,5 million.

The R300 million state-of-the-art school is not in a good state , the fascia boards have fallen out , there are roof leakages which are affecting the ceiling and the walls and the hydrotherapy room is non functional.

We will continue to monitor the progress with regards to the fixing of these defects to ensure that the school complies with the standard building regulations and can be issued with a permanent occupational certificate.

The DA further calls on the Department of Education to take over control of its entire budget as the Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) is incapable of building proper schools.

DA condemns in strongest terms organisations that are advocating for schools to close due to increasing Covid-19 cases in Gauteng

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng condemns in the strongest terms the organisations that are intending to shut down schools across the province. This is aimed at gaining publicity at the expense of learners.

The reasons being provided by these organisations on why they want schools to be closed are not based on any expert advice but are intended to instil fear amongst parents, learners, and teachers.

The DA strongly believes that only the schools without the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and basic services must not operate until they have all the necessary required equipment and resources to ensure that they adhere to the standard health regulations.

The Gauteng Department of Education has an obligation to ensure the safety of both learners and teachers during this national lockdown period as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The department should ensure that it provides quality basic education to all children of school going age.

It is unfortunate that in most cases people who are advocating for schools to close have access to home schooling and online platforms.

While other learners mostly from underprivileged areas who attend quintile 1 to 3 schools benefit from attending school as they do not have access to online platforms as they cannot afford to buy data, portable phones and access to reliable networks.

This is the time to deal with inequalities instead of widening the gap to the advantage of the privileged.

We do note the increasing number of Covid-19 daily cases, and as the country is not on hard lockdown schools are safer places for many learners who are roaming the streets doing nothing. We urge principals to ensure that they follow the regulations and implement standard operating procedure when there is positive case reported.

Learners who are back at schools are settling in well and learning and teaching is continuing under these new normal conditions.

We urge parents not to be misled by these organisations who want to close down schools.

The DA will continue to monitor teaching and learning during this difficult period and ensure that the department provides all our schools with all the necessities required to ensure the safety of our learners and teachers.