October 26, 2005

The IFP strongly dismisses the accusations that, in the past, it neglected education in rural KwaZulu-Natal. The accusations have been leveled against the party by the ANC in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Parliament.

“The IFP’s record on education in KwaZulu-Natal is nothing short of impressive,” said Dr Lionel Mtshali MPP who leads the IFP caucus in that Parliament and who served as Minister of Education between 1990 and 1994. “Education has always been one of our top priorities.”

The erstwhile KwaZulu government itself invested millions of rands into rural schools, despite the low per capita allocation of funding towards black education by the National Party government.

In addition, the former KwaZulu government went out of its way to secure extensive funding for the construction and running of schools by donors and sponsors. “Those schools are still there for everyone to see,” said Dr Mtshali.

The schools were built strictly according to the need of a particular community on the pillars of self-help and self-reliance. “The communities had to raise money themselves in order to claim reimbursement by the government on a rand-for-rand basis,” said Dr Mtshali.

Similarly, the erstwhile KwaZulu government secured loans from the Development Bank of Southern Africa to build James Nxumalo Agricultural High School, Umlazi ComTech, Ezakheni College of Education, to name a few examples.

The former KwaZulu government also secured the support and funding from the Eshowe Christian Action Group, a project led by Prince Gideon Zulu, as well as the Siyazisiza Trust, an initiative by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and the Urban Foundation.

Some of the most generous contributors towards schools from the business community were Toyota and Richards Bay Minerals. Their respective legacies are Ogwini Comprehensive School, KwaMakhutha High School and Sibusisiwe High School; and Tisand Comprehensive High School and College.

In addition, the erstwhile KwaZulu government upgraded a number of Colleges of Education to the status of tertiary institutions. “Massive sums were poured into their lecture theatres and accommodation facilities. These were real achievements,” said Dr Mtshali.

The former KwaZulu government proudly prioritized technical education. “It is a pity that many of its flagship Colleges of Education survived only to become white elephants under the administration of the current Department of Education,” said Dr Mtshali.

Contact: Dr Lionel Mtshali, 083 256 4902