The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in the KZN Legislature hopes that the newly appointed KZN Education Head of Department, Mr Nathi Ngcobo, will be a new broom that sweeps clean. His predecessors left behind quite a mess: among others, a series of bungled decisions, a propensity to engage in corrupt activities and an autocratic leadership style.
While the IFP congratulates Mr Ngcobo on his appointment as HOD, it urges him to prioritise the following challenges that have been plaguing the Department for too long:
- Lack of safety in schools;
- Lack of scholar transport;
- Shortage of teachers;
- Implementation of the recommendations of the SIU PPE Corruption Report;
- Rural incentive allowances;
- The whereabouts of the boats, worth more than R2 million, that were bought by the Provincial Education Department in 2017, after it found that pupils from more than 181 schools cross rivers and dams to get to class.
It is incumbent upon the new HOD to ensure that all these issues are addressed swiftly and amicably.
The IFP has, on numerous occasions, raised concerns about the lack of safety in schools, and the lack of scholar transport. The safety of our school children and teachers cannot be over-emphasised. School safety is an integral component of a successful teaching and learning process. Indeed, no meaningful teaching and learning can take place in an environment that is unsafe for learners and staff.
Further, the IFP is concerned about the high number of unemployed teacher graduates.
The HOD must ensure that more unemployed teachers are recruited – not only those who acquired their qualifications through government bursaries like Fundza Lushaka. All qualified teachers, including those who have paid for their own tertiary education, must have an equal opportunity to be employed.
Further, the IFP demands that the KZN Department of Education provide learners with scholar transport, irrespective of where they are from.
The IFP reiterates its call relating to all officials implicated in PPE corruption: they must not be allowed to resign in an attempt to avoid disciplinary action. Further, the issue of a rural incentive allowance for teachers must be prioritised. The incentive is necessary, because rural teachers often travel longer distances.
Lastly, the IFP would like to advise the new HOD that in order to execute his duties diligently, he must follow the letter of the law. He must not succumb to political pressure from the MEC, or unions such as SADTU, which in turn could lead to him making poor decisions. He must not allow the Department to be held to ransom by his political masters.
Mrs Thembeni Madlopha-mthethwa, MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson for Education
071 884 3844 / 079 114 3015