Motshekga slams R7.2bn cut to school infrastructure budget

The cut is part of a plan to reduce government spending by R85 billion over the next three years, mainly to help finance fee-free higher education.

FILE: Basic Education Minister Motshekga addressing the launch the Sanitation Appropriate for Education Initiative at the Sheraton Hotel, Pretoria. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says the R7.2 billion cut to the school infrastructure budget has had “a disastrous effect”.

The cut, to be spread over the next three financial years, was announced in former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s February budget.

It is part of a plan to reduce government spending by R85 billion over the next three years, mainly to help finance fee-free higher education for students from disadvantaged households.

The Basic Education minister says achieving minimum norms and standards in government schools – such as water, electricity and sanitation - will be set back by between five to 10 years as a result of the budget cut.

She says no new funding was provided to provincial departments for schools to meet the basic standards introduced five years ago and that these budgets must also cover maintenance, extra classrooms, asbestos removal and fixing damage caused by storms and service-delivery protests.

Budgets have also had to be re-jigged to meet President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent call to tackle backlogs in providing schools with proper toilets.

Motshekga says the system is under pressure and that extra funds are needed. She was responding in writing to a DA parliamentary question.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)