Dear Cape Town
Today in Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, the Department revealed that it has failed to meet its own annual infrastructure goals to upgrade dilapidated schools through its Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI). The project which is responsible for addressing the backlogs in the eradication of inappropriate school structures and the provision of basic services – is a complete failure and is robbing vulnerable learners from accessing a quality education.
The Department’s Fourth Quarter Performance Report for 2018/2019 indicates that:
- Of the target of 50 new schools to be built and completed, only 21 were completed;
- The target of 286 schools to be provided with sanitation facilities falls short by 62 schools; and
- The target of 325 schools to be provided with water, falls short by 102 schools.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes with concern some of the motivations listed for failing ASIDI projects being due to the poor performance of suppliers, tenders not meeting tender requirements, contractors with cash flow problems, and most shocking, the closure of some sights due to some contractors demanding they be awarded certain projects.
It is unacceptable that the Department is being held to ransom by an array of issues relating to contractors and tender irregularities. It is for this reason that the DA will submit Parliamentary Questions to receive clarity on the process which was followed in the awarding of tenders, to seemingly poor and unreliable contractors. We will also request further information on the progress of current ASIDI projects, which contractors have been hired to complete, along with their expected completion dates for each school.
By failing to address these backlogs, the Department is inhibiting learners across South Africa from accessing quality education, and preventing safer educational and sanitary infrastructure.
South African learners deserve the highest degree of commitment from the Department of Education with regards to the goals set out by ASIDI. Our learners deserve access to safe schools, which are able to provide them with a quality education. Currently, the Department is robbing our children of their Constitutional right to safe and functioning schools.
Desiree van der Walt MP
DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education