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Motshekga under fire from opposition after budget vote speech

The minister was criticised by opposition MPs for not doing enough to improve literacy levels.

FILE: Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has come under fire from opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) after delivering her budget vote speech in Parliament.

She was criticised by the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday for not doing enough to improve literacy levels, while other parliamentarians listed examples of her department's failure to address sanitation problems at schools and deliver furniture.

Motshekga's department has been allocated more than R21 billion for the 2015/2016 financial year.

The DA's Annette Lovemore said her party has referred the department's annual performance plan and five year strategic plan to the Finance Minister to be reviewed and rejected.

"Your plans, as they stand in writing, do not address every child's constitutional right to basic education."

The Economic Freedom Fighters' Reneiloe Mashabela tore into the Minister, despite being rudely interrupted.

"Order honourable minister, only 55 percent of the learners who started school in 2003 made it to grade 12 in 2014."

The Inkatha Freedom Party lamented that the department with the biggest slice of the national budget is failing to implement policies that address the public's needs.

NOT ALL DOOM & GLOOM

Deputy Minister of Basic Education Mohamed Enver Surty said there are more than 830,000 children in grade R.

"Today we can celebrate the fact that more than 92 percent of each child that goes to formal schooling that is grade one, has received at least one year of grade R learning."

He said with the annual national assessment taken in to account, progress in grades one to five is noticeable but there seems to be challenges in grade 9.

"The reality is as we are building the foundations for learning, we have to pay particular attention to those areas."

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