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Budget cuts will worsen school overcrowding in Western Cape, says Equal Education

Equal Education co-head of research Roné McFarlane said the consequences of this cut would be felt across various education priorities. Picture: Courtney Africa/ African News Agency

Equal Education co-head of research Roné McFarlane said the consequences of this cut would be felt across various education priorities. Picture: Courtney Africa/ African News Agency

Published Feb 28, 2020

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Cape Town – The announced Budget adjustments on the education infrastructure allocations will have far-reaching impacts, especially in the Western Cape where schools are currently overcrowded, says Equal Education co-head of research Roné McFarlane.

In his Budget speech, tabled on Wednesday, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced a R261 billion reduction in baseline spending, which included education infrastructure allocations adjusted by R5.2bn over the medium term.

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McFarlane said the consequences of this cut would be felt across various education priorities, which included cuts to school infrastructure grants, the school nutrition programme and the department of basic education’s second chance programme that helps pupils to pass their matric exams.

“We welcome Mboweni’s announcement that the government is prioritising the building of new schools, replacing schools built from inappropriate materials, and providing schools with water, electricity and toilets.

“However, it’s difficult to reconcile this commitment with the reductions to both national and provincial education infrastructure grants,” she said.

GOOD party secretary-general Brett Herron said the cuts would create more overcrowding in schools.

“In the Western Cape, we still have a few thousand children who do not have access to schools this year.

“That is an indictment on the Western Cape government for failing to plan properly and for surrendering R41million from their education budget to pay for law enforcement officers,” he said.

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Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schäfer said she was “deeply concerned” about the impact of cuts.

“Obviously, any cut is going to necessitate prioritising and will mean that we cannot continue with our plans.

“I shall announce more during my budget speech,” she said.

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@Mtuzeli

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Cape Argus

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