The seriously flawed Mpumalanga education system, which is further crippled by maladministration and corruption, is going to get a total overhaul.
In a wide-ranging interview with Sowetan on Friday, Premier David Mabuza said his administration wanted to deal with the provincial education system, which he described as "rotten to the core".
He conceded that the system had failed to produce credible results.
"Since our inception our matric exams have had problems. We are going to deal decisively with the system, incompetence and corrupt officials who compromise the education of the children," he said.
"If officials and teachers see business in the selling of a question paper, then they are in the wrong place."
Mpumalanga has experienced mammoth challenges related to scholar transport for pupils that have to walk long distances to schools.
Pupils in farm schools have little chance of coming out of the system prepared for life after school.
"We have failed as government over the years to deal with the farm schools situation. If you go to a farm school you cannot call what is happening there education.
"You find children of all grades in one classroom - which is a shack, and we expect children to pass in that environment."
Mabuza, a former high school teacher, said the foundation of the education system was flawed.
"The foundation of the education system is flawed. It's unfortunate that the country uses matric as a yardstick. The important phase is at primary level, where a child is being prepared.
"We need to do away with farm schools because they are not viable," he said.
"Scholar transport is not properly run and we are not getting value for money. The nutrition scheme is also not correctly run because of people who want to make profit."
Mpumalanga looks set to get its first university ahead of Northern Cape. The two provinces do not have tertiary institutions.
Mabuza said his government had agreed with the Ministry of Higher Education on the urgency of the situation.
"We are looking for land where we are going to build it, and we are going to move ahead with plans and designs and we will submit these to the minister."
Residents of Mataffini went berserk recently, protesting about the delay in the rebuilding of their schools, which were demolished to make way for the Mbombela Stadium.
They calmed down when the state made a commitment that the schools would be ready in March.
Mabuza downplayed a lack of service delivery as the main factor that triggered the protests that engulfed the province's townships recently.
He said the main source of the protests werepeople who were positioning themselves for political office.
"We held meetings to get a sense of what were the causes, the hype of the coming local government elections. The attack was strong on councillors, some of whom were implicated in corruption."
He said he found it strange that areas that protested violently had minimum levels of service delivery.
"There is a fair amount of service delivery in areas where there were protests; they have houses, water, and power compared to areas that never had protests. People who were supposed to stand up and say there is no service delivery are very patient."
He condemned the violence that erupted during the protests.
Mabuza, who will be delivering his state of the province address next week, will elaborate about the planned economic summit in his speech.
The mining industry will be put in the spotlight and is to outline its commitment to realigning its community involvement in line with government plans.
Mabuza will also unveil plans to curb the influx of illegal immigrants, who reportedly put a strain on the social welfare system.
Border patrols will be improved ahead of the soccer World Cup tournament.
He said the government had installed boreholes worth R14million to give residents access to clean water.
Housing provision will also be coordinated from the premier's office to avoid haphazard planning.