THE Department of Education in Sedibeng West District has been blamed for the poor matric results, which excluded the region from being included in the top five in Gauteng.
The National Association of School Governing Bodies (NASGB) in Sedibeng said the poor results in the region were a sign that the district had failed to prioritise pupils and that the root cause of this was corruption and financial mismanagement.
After the announcement of the results, the association raised the issues during a picket outside the district offices, where they submitted a petition of grievances and demands.
Matume Chiloane, MEC for the Gauteng Department of Education, was also invited to hear them.
The petition was handed to officials Jabu Ngwenya and Mapalo Mosia, who collected it on behalf of chief director Victor Theta, who was absent. The officials have been given until March 20 to respond and act on the demands.
Accepting the petition, Ngwenya said the district would have a discussion and respond before the deadline. When asked if the department was aware of the petition, spokesperson Steve Mabona did not respond.
Gauteng’s top-three performing districts, which have remained unchanged from 2022, are Johannesburg West (92.5%), Tshwane South (90.4%) and Gauteng North (88.4%), while Sedibeng West District ranked number 12 with 82.9%. This is slightly higher than the 81% attained in 2022.
The school governing bodies (SGB) association said the failure to improve was because the district had never created a beneficial education system.
It also raised the following concerns:
- intimidation of SGB parents component,
- a lack of capacity building for both principals and SGB members,
- financial management of school bank accounts,
- failure of schools and district to monitor the national school nutrition programme (NSNP),
- overcrowding in classrooms,
- irregularity of learner bus transport,
- a lack of management training and mentorship for appointed principals, and
- no progress on head of department acting post.
The association has also pleaded with the district to have a clear year planner and provide oversight on audited financial statements. The district has also been requested to report suspicious fraud and corruption.
Other demands are that:
- the department explore alternative building technologies for schools,
- procurement is in line with the objectives of the district’s LED sectors to grow the SMMEs,
- locally based accredited service providers are prioritised, and
- the MEC’s office set up internal structures to monitor full compliance to the department decisions.
The association’s regional executive council secretary, Thabiso Radebe, said they have been engaging with the district about these issues but have been ignored.
“Some of these issues, we have been raising from as early as 2018 and even today we have not received any satisfactory answers,” he said.
“As we put the message across, it’s about time the education of the black child is being taken seriously. We have also seen the multi-racial schools in towns demanding resource fees from the parents before they distribute textbooks and that needs to be investigated because parents are paying for school fees,” Radebe added.
A member of the school governing body at one of the Sebokeng schools, Moeketsi Pholo, echoed these sentiments and added that financial mismanagement was the reason many schools experienced a shortage of stationery and textbooks. He said this was because principals undermined the responsibilities of SGBs in schools.
“Until SGBs are allowed to be in control of their roles, we won’t have a clear mandate and the schools will continue to suffer,” said Pholo.
Another SGB member, Terry Masooa, said her concern around her school in Lakeside was safety after four schools in the district were declared dangerous, and Sedibeng had failed to deal with the situation.