Mpumalanga needs to build almost 400 new schools to cater for the fast-increasing population of the province. This was what senior education officials yesterday told the National Council of Province’s (NCOP’s) Mpumalanga delegation during its oversight visit in the province during Provincial Week.

Briefing the NCOP delegation as part of the week’s activities, provincial education Head of Department Ms Lucy Moyane said over 380 schools were needed, based on the guidelines set by human settlements planning. “When one looks at the population, the fast-growing towns and the schools that we currently have, there is a need for about 383 new schools in the province,” Ms Moyane told the NCOP delegation.

The HOD also reported that her department does not have the budget to deal with the shortage of classrooms and also build new schools. However, work is underway for the construction of a special school for blind and deaf learners, after the need was identified a few years ago.

Following three-days of oversight in the province’s Ehlanzeni District and interacting with various stakeholders in assessing government’s capacity to deliver services, the NCOP delegation concluded that the province was able to deal with the needs of the communities, but there is room for improvement.

“After assessing the state capacity in Mpumalanga, we can confirm that the province is able to deal with the needs of the people. There is room for improvement and we have identified specific issues that will be referred to the relevant departments to act on,” said House Chairperson for Committees and Oversight in the NCOP Mr Jomo Nyambi.

The delegation also received briefings from municipalities, the provincial Office of the Auditor-General, the South African Local Government Authority as well as Trans Africa Concessions, a private company responsible for the management of the N4 road between Pretoria and Maputo.

The leader of the NCOP delegation, Ms Audrey Maleka, commended the municipalities and the departments for their efforts to deliver services, and improve the financial performances and audit outcomes. The provincial and local government sectors were also advised that good audit outcomes alone do not help and that a clean audit must also be able to produce efficient service delivery.

Sakhile Mokoena
1 April 2022