Apartheid legacy haunts us

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

KwaZulu-Natal education authorities have blamed the "apartheid legacy" for the huge backlog in infrastructure at schools in the province.

This emerged in a workshop at which education officials briefed the education portfolio committee in the provincial legislature.

Superintendent-general Cassius Lubisi blamed the apartheid regime for neglecting "so-called African schools".

Lubisi said: "Apartheid's negative effect still exists. It haunts each and every department of this new government."

He said the department needed R24 billion in addition to its R1,2 billion yearly budget to address infrastructure needs.

"There is a backlog of about 10000 classrooms in the province," Lubisi said.

"This backlog can be attributed to the fact that the apartheid government neglected our schools."

He said the cost of building one classroom had rocketed to R250000, which makes the backlog even more difficult to deal with.

Education portfolio committee chairman Senzo Mchunu urged the government to prioritise education and give the department sufficient funds to function properly.

But provincial legislature member Wiseman Mcoyi said unless "corruption" was dealt with in the department, problems would continue.

"The infrastructure backlog can be addressed if there is no corruption," Mcoyi said.

"I have asked for an investigation and gave the department information about irregularities, but it has been swept under the carpet for years.

"Whenever I ask why nothing has been done, I am accused of talking like a politician.

The money is there but it is in the wrong hands."