Audit into furniture shortages at schools

An audit is under way to determine the worrying extent of furniture shortages at schools in the Eastern Cape, MPs were told yesterday. 

Responding to concerns from MPs, basic education department deputy director-general Palesa Tyobeka said the audit would check specific schools with acute shortages that had been identified by the Legal Resources Centre. 

A team of 24 officials would drive the audit process, which gets under way on November 4. The team would also determine shortages at other schools and identify furniture that was broken but fixable. 

Tyobeka said one of the problems that had been identified was the delivery of desks with no accompanying chairs. 

Tyobeka was briefing the portfolio committee on basic education on school readiness for next year, Furniture issues were one of the red flags raised. 

Another province with infrastructure and furniture shortages was Limpopo. Democratic Alliance MP Desiree van der Walt said that R34 million, which was budgeted for the provision of school furniture for the current financial year, had not been spent. 

In terms of school readiness for 2016, Tyobeka said that late applications continued to be a problem because it had a knock-on effect in terms of planning. 

“I cannot give assurances that all schools will have text books by the start of the year,” she admitted. “There are challenges around admissions, so you may find that there are some schools that will have late placements and therefore no textbooks [for those children].”