The IFP in the KZN Legislature calls upon the KZN MEC for Education, Mbali Frazer, to release a report into the finances at Sukuma Secondary School in Imbali Unit 1, Pietermaritzburg.
Former, KZN MEC for Education, Kwazi Mshengu, launched an investigation into how the School’s funds were managed. He promised that issues at Sukuma Secondary School would be resolved amicably, yet to date, the report has not been released.
KZN MEC for Education, Mbali Frazer, as the political head of the Department, has a responsibility to release the report. She needs to call a meeting for parents and other interested parties and release the findings of investigation to the public.
There is no time to waste. Learners at Sukuma Secondary have blocked roads with burning tyres on several occasions to protest of water shortages, which allegedly occurred due to non-payment to Msunduzi Municipality. They have also broken windows. In addition, teachers are allegedly sabotaging each other, rendering the school ungovernable.
The MEC must also address the issue of the new school principal at Sukuma, who has been rejected by parents who claim that he does not have the proper qualifications.
It is essential that any person appointed as a school principal is a fit and proper person, with the necessary qualifications to perform their duties.
School Governing Bodies (SGBs) and principals tend to take the lead when it comes to school finances, and can manipulate parents who have limited knowledge of school financial policy. In some cases, school principals are taking advantage of a lack of monitoring and financial controls from the Department, and the result is financial irregularities at their institutions. Laxity and leniency on the part of some principals and departmental officials when dealing with financial mismanagement undermines the smooth functioning of many schools.
There was a time when state auditors would visit schools unannounced and conduct audits. As the IFP, we propose that this practice of unannounced audits be carried out on a regular basis, across the province. All cases of financial misconduct must be reported to the SGB, the HOD of Education and the police.
Further, school principals and SGB members must undergo intensive training on financial management and governance.
The IFP is of the view that mismanagement of funds should never be tolerated. If we expect to improve the standard of education offered to learners, we need to ensure that those appointed in these positions are properly qualified persons with integrity.
In terms of section 34(1) of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Activities Act 12 of 2004 (PCCA) (RSA, 2004), “Any person who holds a position of authority and who knows or who ought reasonably to have known or suspected that any person has committed … the offence of theft, fraud, extortion, [and] forgery … must report such knowledge of suspicion or cause such knowledge or suspicion to be reported to any police official.” Failure to report such knowledge or suspicion will render the person guilty of an offence.
As the IFP, we believe that no person contributing to financial mismanagement in public schools should be allowed to get away with the blatant theft of public funds and should face the full might of the law.
Mrs Thembeni Madlopha Mthethwa, MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson for Education
071 884 3844/ 079 114 3015