The budget for the 2016/2017 financial year was increased from R36 billion in the 2015/2016 financial year. The department received an additional R2,2 billion for conditional grants. Both the DA and the EFF rejected the budget.
MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the province had 2,2 million pupils and that 71% of those who started Grade One in 2005 reached matric in 2016.
In his address to the legislature, Lesufi said the department focused on investing in pupils, even after high school. In the last four years, the province had spent over R886 million on bursaries for 16 171 pupils.
EFF MPL Lindiwe Dzimba said that according to Equal Education, 70% of schools in the province did not provide soap, while 40% did not have access to toilet paper or sanitary pads. “There is no reason why condoms are given for free and sanitary pads are not. Are we saying sex is good and you will not need sanitary pads because you will be pregnant by then?”
Dzimba said the department should use the R535 million being paid to bus companies to transport over 93 000 pupils to provide this service itself. “We should not rely on the corrupted tender system.”
Lesufi said Dzimba “did not attend meetings and is out-dated. There is no single school in Gauteng without electricity, water, or proper sanitation.”
Government gave 21 000 free “dignity packs” to female pupils every month.
“You are talking about this condom thing, but we give more than sanitary pads in our packs. You are misinformed. We are going beyond the call of duty.”
DA MPL Khume Ramulifho said pupil-teacher ratios in schools were merely “something to show on paper”.
“Ratios are just not equal. There are some schools with 1 500 pupils and others with less than 300. This is not being adequately addressed. The education department must look into this.”
He added that the R3 billion infrastructure budget could help with job creation. He said entrepreneurs were finding it difficult to do business with government. “They do not get paid on time and they lose money. A caring government, during tough economic times, should act efficiently to ensure small businesses don’t get frustrated with red tape.”