Free State Education Department withholds money from schools,yet warns schools to pay accounts
The Free State Education Department has warned schools in the Eastern Free State to settle their municipal accounts immediately to avoid discontinuation of services. However, schools do not have the money to pay these accounts as this Department is yet to make last year’s transfer payments to schools.
“The Department’s conduct is not only arrogant but unlawful,” says Dr Jaco Deacon, Deputy CEO of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (FEDSAS). Provincial education departments are required by law to make transfer payments to public schools annually on 15 May and 15 November. Schools depend on this money for operating costs, including electricity and water supply.
“FEDSAS has already started with legal action to force the Free State Education Department to make the transfer payments that should have been made on 15 November last year. Now this Department threatens schools to pay accounts with money that the Department is refusing to pay over to the schools!”
Deacon says incidents such as these point to a lack of management in the Free State Education Department. “It seems the left hand is not aware of what the right hand is doing – and, as usual, schools and especially children are the victims.”
FEDSAS is continuing with legal action to force the Department to make the outstanding payments to schools. “The Department’s negligence with transfer payments is creating a snowball effect with one problem leading to another. It undermines quality education, which in turn has a negative effect on the entire school system.”