#SONA: Number given by President Zuma for mud-school replacement unlikely to be accurate

Home | #SONA: Number given by President Zuma for mud-school replacement unlikely to be accurate

President Zuma said in his State of the Nation Address tonight: “With regard to social infrastructure, a total of 98 new schools will have been built by the end of March, of which more than 40 are in the Eastern Cape that are replacing mud schools.”

The Department of Basic Education’s program to replace mud-schools in the Eastern Cape is known as the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI). (http://www.education.gov.za/Programmes/ASIDI/tabid/841/Default.aspx)

ASIDI is a very important program and it is achieving results. Indeed schools are being built and they look impressive. (See this DBE progress report to February 2013: http://bit.ly/XBRjak).

However, the figures given to the President by the DBE, and found in his speech, are likely an exaggeration and somewhat of a misrepresentation:

  • The original target was for 49 Eastern Cape schools to be handed over a year ago, in March 2012. (See slide 6 of this DBE presentation to the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Appropriations: http://bit.ly/YtZ03l).
  • Only two schools have been handed over to date: Mphathiswa Senior Primary in Libode and Dakhile Junior Secondary School in Lusikisiki. (http://www.ecdoe.gov.za/news_article/400/Zuma-delivers-the-first-ASIDI-School)
  • As of today another five schools are regarded by the DBE as 100% complete. (http://www.education.gov.za/Programmes/ASIDI/ASIDISchoolsUpdate/tabid/842/Default.aspx)
  • Another 14 schools are regarded by the DBE as over 90% complete.
  • Another 11 schools are regarded by the DBE as over 75% complete.
  • This makes a total of 32 schools. Even if all of these schools are 100% complete, and handed over by the end of March, which is unlikely, this is less than the 40 indicated by the President.

Please note: This statement is not a general critique of the SONA. Equal Education welcomes many parts of the President’s speech but felt it necessary to correct the figures for replacing mud schools in the Eastern Cape. This is necessary because replacing mud-schools is a perennial unmet promise of the SONA speech. For example, in the 2004 SONA, then President Mbeki said: “By the end of this financial year we shall ensure that there is no learner and student learning under a tree, mud-school or any dangerous conditions that expose learners and teachers to the elements.”

EE would welcome efforts by the media to check at the end of March 2013 how many of the 40 schools are complete.

Comment: Hopolang Selebalo (EE Parliamentary Officer) 074-261-1672


Photo: The Presidency of South Africa