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Minister Angie Motshekga and MEC Dickson Masemola are the worst thing that ever happened to us since the era of Bantu Education.
I wish to place on record that I wrote to the MEC as early as December 28 regarding the seriousness of not having ordered textbooks for the current school year. I did not get any response to the letter save for some spurious reference to it in her speech at the 2012 Grade 12 awards ceremony on January 5.
I also need to go on record that I was invited to the same ceremony but declined on principle. I could not see myself publicly endorsing people who I know are hell-bent on destroying the future of our children.
The non-provision of the teaching and learning material is not an accident nor is it a mistake, but a well-crafted plan to deny our children what the constitution ostensibly provides, basic education. It is a plan driven by incompetence, maladministration, greed, corruption and just sheer disregard for duties and responsibilities.
What this all means is that the future of the children of Limpopo is retarded by a year because they will never be able to cover the six months lost and still hope to successfully pass their grades.
For the minister to say there is no crisis and that the children will catch up what they lost in six months within three weeks of their holidays is absurd. She has demonstrated her utter contempt for our people, she is clearly unfit to hold office and she should graciously resign.
This is what is done by people who understand the meaning of integrity. It would be wise for her to save the little integrity she’s got left, otherwise if she stays a day longer she will leave with none.
If she stays, it will be arrogance and contempt, relying on the sheer weight of her party’s numbers in Parliament and her refusal to accept that she is incapable.
This minister is not inspiring at all. What kind of leader tells the nation that not she, but her subordinates, are to blame? What happened to taking full responsibility for the actions of officials in your department? What happened to humility, the courage of just saying sorry?
By the way, I am talking about a minister of education who said, “To be a leader you do not need to have a matric certificate.”
I wish to remind you, honourable Minister, I am a product of June 1976 and have been placed in several positions of leadership as a student as well as a worker. In my tenure throughout those years, I was inspired by the kind of leaders that put a lot of emphasis on the acquisition of knowledge, despite the harshness of the circumstances.
At that time we were encouraged to read, and read, and read. At that time there were very little means to do so. Today you are in charge; the emphasis is no longer on the acquisition of knowledge. You have actively ensured that our children do not touch a book.
To deny children their basic constitutional right is a crime for which you and the hounarable MEC Dickson Masemola must be charged. It would be excusable if the fiscus had no money, but if the department has exceeded its budget on items not planned and budgeted for, then it calls for more than just the section 100(1)b administration of the constitution. You must be removed and criminally charged. You must not be made an ambassador as is normally practised by the ruling party.
All that I have suggested to be done will not happen unless communities begin to demand the services for which they pay and vote. We must begin to understand that we put people in office to serve us. We pay them for what we ask for.
They in turn promise to serve us when they ask for our vote. It’s that simple. If they are not capable they should give way to those who can and are willing, and there are many out there. We do not elect people to go and mismanage our resources.
In the letter I wrote to the MEC, I stated that we as communities are not blameless in all these problems. We do not take our responsibilities as citizens seriously, because if we did, the minister and her MEC would long be out of office.
Somehow we have endless patience with these leaders to the point that we stop “bothering’’ them once we realise that they don’t take us seriously. We can no longer afford to be complacent. They take advantage of this patience and continue to do as they please with our resources, knowing nothing will happen to them; they will keep their jobs as long as you are patient and willing to give them one more chance via your vote.
As I conclude, I wish to be frank with the country. By the end of the year our children will pass their grades, particularly grade 12. What we will see is the minister playing Sepp Blatter again, producing a pass mark of 75 percent or so. It will be a razzmatazz event.
Within that pass rate there will be a pass mark of 20 percent for mathematics, maybe 18 percent for science, a 45 percent on life orientation, 35 percent for maths literacy and a delay in announcing the results because Umalusi is still doing some adjustments. All these pass marks will qualify a student to enter university. What a shame.
When you have this type of education system, how do you blame industry for employing foreign people? How do you tackle unemployment? How do we as a country compete with the world science, engineering and technolog? How do we possibly manage our nationalised resources? How do we fit in the so-called second transition? I shudder to say our future looks dim.
As long as we have leaders who do not respect us, who do not value the future of our children, who do as they wish because they have an absolute majority in Parliament, we are sitting on a ticking time bomb.
Where you have leaders who have wronged the nation but still insist on occupying their positions, we are sliding towards anarchy.
Where you find a leader who is suspected of criminal behaviour and who says, “I am innocent until proven guilty”, you know he has no ounce of honour left in him. So long as you have a leader in charge of public funds who has an interest in selling his services to the same public, you do not have a leader but a potentially corrupt businessman.
As I write this note, I am reminded that the ruling party is having a policy conference. Part of what is being discussed is how to clip the wings of the judiciary.
We need to understand that it was the judiciary that forced the department of education to deliver those books, albeit that the application was brought too late.
Nonetheless, the judiciary played its role superbly.
Now, if we allow the ruling party to interfere with the constitutional instrument, I cannot imagine the future with a judiciary that is politically controlled.
At least we now know that if our public representatives cannot respect the constitution, we can go to the courts.
We must dismiss the notion that the judiciary wants to run the state. The judiciary is the final arbiter in these kinds of disputes.
Therefore, let us support all those that say there must be no interference with the judiciary.
We must resist the temptation that seeks to lead us into a suicidal trap.
l Monama is a Limpopo businessman