Equal Education slammed Western Cape premier Helen Zille on Thursday for her article defending Education Minister Angie Motshekga, saying she had made “factual errors”.
“She actually understands conditions in the average disadvantaged classroom. As a result she is trying to develop ‘norms, standards, policies and frameworks’ that take account of reality. That on its own, is a giant leap forward for education,” Zille wrote.
However, EE chairwoman Yoliswa Dwane said Zille’s article was “misleading and riddled with errors”.
“Zille suggests more than once that norms and standards [for school infrastructure] may be ‘unachievable’, ‘unaffordable’ and ‘impractical’,” Dwane said in a statement.
“These claims are undermined by the concurrence given by the minister of finance, as well as the support for norms and standards in the National Development Plan, and from the Auditor General and fiscal and finance commission.”
She said Zille’s comment that the norms and standards required “tortuous public-participation processes” was not the reality.
Dwane claimed there was no public participation process after the publication of draft norms and standards in January.
“The only body that involved the public was Equal Education, which held public hearings in five provinces and collected 700 submissions which were distilled into two,” she said.
“Motshekga had 11 weeks from the submission closing date until the June 15 deadline, but she made no effort to use the public’s input to fix and finalise the norms and standards,” she claimed.
EE took Motshekga to court in July, claiming she had breached an agreement reached in November 2012 to publish the final document by May 15, or by the extended deadline of June 15.
The Bhisho High Court ordered that she promulgate the norms and standards by November 30.
In her article, Zille wrote that Motshekga had “erred in believing that it would be possible to cut through the red-tape jungle by June 15”, and that she should not have supported the “unrealistic deadline” and agreed to it becoming a court order, said Dwane.
However, Dwane said the June 15 deadline was realistic and pointed out that it had not been an order of court.
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