ANC WCape must stop lying about school closures – Theuns Botha

DA provincial leader says opposition guilty of false claims and hypocrisy.

School Closures: The lies have to stop.

The ANC persists in spreading lies and disinformation about the proposed closure of 27 schools in theWestern Cape. It is insufferable and has to stop.

The ANC’s crude and dishonest politicking was once again displayed in a memorandum riddled with false statements that was directed at theWestern Capegovernment during a protest march in Knysna yesterday.

The DA-led Western Cape Government is committed to improving opportunities for all learners in the province, particularly those living in the province’s poorer communities. As the Minister of Education in this province, Donald Grant, has explained time and time again, the aim of the proposed school closures is to improve opportunities for learners by placing them in schools that are better equipped to provide a quality education.

In their desperate attempt to discredit the Western Cape Education Department, the ANC continues to link the tragic Rheenendal bus accident to the possible school closures. By no stretch of the imagination can this be done with any foundation in fact at all. The fact that the only schools closed in the Rheenendal area were closed by other governments of the Western Cape and not by the present government makes the ANC’s comments both malicious and mischievous.

None of the issues highlighted by the ANC in yesterday’s memorandum stands up to even the most superficial interrogation.

For instance, the claim that the DA-led Western Cape Government has closed more schools than it has built.

The fact is that the DA-led Western Cape Government has built more schools than it has closed. In fact, the Western Cape Government is building more schools with greater capacity and better facilities for more learners than the schools that have been closed by this administration to date.

The ANC are not only guilty of false claims, but are also hypocritical, given that they closed 47 schools between 2002 and 2007, building only 42 during the same period.

Since 2009, the DA-led Western Cape Government has been making every effort to meaningfully address the infrastructure backlogs that were left by previous administrations to ensure that more learners in theWestern Capehave greater access to a quality education closer to where they live, particularly those learners that live in the province’s poorer communities.

Despite the ANC’s spurious allegations, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) expects to complete the building of 16 additional new schools and replacement schools in the 2012/2013 financial year. Once these schools have been completed, the WCED will have built 47 new and replacement schools (accommodating approximately 57 000 learners). These new schools will quite rightly benefit learners from the Western Cape’s poorer communities.

The rest of the ANC statement is even more inaccurate than that.

School closures are not unique to theWestern Capeand occur all over the country. In the light of this, the ANC’s opposition to this is mindless, hypocritical and riddled with false statements.

Why does the ANC oppose something that is intended to improve opportunities for learners?

It is becoming increasingly difficult to believe that the opposition in theWestern Capeis at all concerned about the children of this province. Their mindless and disingenuous opposition to the proposed school closures as well as their failure to provide thousands of learners across the country with the support and resources they so desperately need only proves that their opposition to these proposed closures has absolutely nothing to do with their concern for learners and their needs.

Statement issued by Theuns Botha, DA Western Cape provincial leader,September 27 2012

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