Political enemies are united in the call for the removal of Eastern Cape education MEC Mandla Makupula from his position following the dismal failure of the class of 2015.
Both the DA and the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in the province are blaming Makupula’s lack of ideas and foresight for the province’s poor results, and want him gone.
The province, which has come last in the county again, declined from the 65.4% pass rate achieved in 2014 to 56.8%.
When City Press spoke to the DA’s shadow MEC for education Edmund van Vuuren this week, he was convinced Makupula had no more to offer education and that it was time for him to leave.
“He has had plenty of opportunity. He has made promises at the legislature and said things are improving in the education department. He even gave an undertaking that he will get 70% [pass rate] because they are doing everything. He was so sure the results would improve.
“We had no other MEC who has promised so many things that did not take place. I believe we need new political leadership within that department. It seems the more he says, the less his officials are taking him seriously,” he said.
Van Vuuren said Makupula was not bringing new creativity to the department and that keeping him on the job was not in the best interest of education in the province.
“The Eastern Cape MEC for education must resign and spare the province another year of self-denial and failure. MEC Mandla Makupula continues to turn a blind eye to the shortcomings in his department,” said Van Vuuren.
Fresh political leaders at the helm of the department who would be prepared to work with all political parties, not just the ruling party, was needed, said to Van Vuuren.
“I am bitterly disappointed with these results. They are much worse than I expected. Education is the ticket out of the poverty cycle, but the dreams and hopes for opportunities for our pupils are being destroyed by a dysfunctional department. It is time for drastic political intervention,” he said.
The ANCYL this week called for the embattled MEC to be redeployed.
The league said young people in the province were the ones who suffered the most.
“For six consecutive years, the province of the Eastern Cape has been at the tail-end in matric results when compared with other provinces.
This sustained undesired performance by the department can better be told by the youth of our province who loiter in the streets with no skills, owing to the department of education’s spectacular failure to realise its mandate and achieve its targets. The 2015 National Senior Certificate results of the province are the worst,” said Ayongezwa Lungisa, spokesperson for the ANCYL.
Lungisa said the ANCYL believed the results were a reflection of an ailing system in the province and the “devil is in the administration”.
He said they would engage the ANC over the prospect of removing the MEC from his position and deploying him elsewhere.
“The MEC has been at the helm since 2010 and all his efforts have been witnessed. We do not believe that there is more creativity forthcoming from his leadership to take us forward.”
The ANCYL quickly received a rebuke from the Young Communist League (YCL), which came to Makupula’s defence.
Andile Mosha, YCL secretary in the province, said Makupula was not to blame for the poor results.
“Education is a societal matter that must not be attributed to the MEC of education only, but to all of us as members of society.
“To attribute problems and failures of the apartheid legacy to an individual is a serious mistake that the democratic movement must not commit,” he said.
The department of education had not responded to emailed questions by the time of going to press.