Cosatu Caught Off Guard By WCED's Request

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) is not happy with the budget cuts it has faced this year, and there could be more to come. Cosatu has now found itself in the middle of the provincial department's war with national government.

The WCED has called on organisations like Cosatu to help make the government prioritise education. Cosatu was surprised by the department's request. 

Minister of Education in the Western Cape, Debbie Schäfer released a statement speaking out against budget cuts for the education department. Schäfer fears that budget cuts will mean the department will have less money to provide quality education to learners. 

"If these organisations are genuinely serious about solving the challenges we face, they will join us in demanding that national government prioritise the education of our children over the continued looting of State Owned Enterprises."

Schäfer wants the organisations to publically state that they want the government to reverse any budget cuts that were made this year. She also wants the national government to increase the funding allocated to the Western Cape. 

There are fears that more budget cuts will affect the department's plans to provide transport to learners and improve school infrastructure.

"Budget cuts mean we cannot build enough schools for the additional 18 000 learners added to our province’s schools each year, so there will be a major struggle to find school places every single year."

Another concern that Schäfer has is how the budget cuts will affect the employment of teachers. This will also affect learners who will most likely be in overcrowded classrooms. 

Cosatu's provincial secretary Malvern de Bruyn said the union was caught off guard by the minister's statement. 

De Bruyn said Schäfer didn't approach Cosatu before releasing the statement. He questioned the department's motives as the statement was released ahead of Cosatu's press statement today. 

"I think it's more of a plot or a ploy by the MEC to make such requests. Not once in their history have they ever made such requests to Cosatu."

Despite this, de Bruyn has made it clear that Cosatu is against any budget cuts that affect the education department.

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