Angie Motshekga

Minister of Basic Education
2014 Grade: n/a
2013 Grade: n/a

This is the year Angie Motshekga finally admitted that the real reason pupils do not have all the resources they need is: “perfection” is not a standard her department ever aspired to in the first place.
Apparently, government policy “does not stipulate that each and every textbook has to be delivered to each and every learner”.
This surprise cropped up in her May appeal of a court judgment ordering her to ensure that textbooks are delivered to every pupil in Limpopo.
Her (unconstitutional) haughtiness might shed light on why the provision of other critical resources, such as toilets and teachers, is also so far from “perfection”.
In a mortifying moment of her career, the Legal Resources Centre asked the sheriff to attach Motshekga’s and some Eastern Cape education department officials’ government cars, following court action on unpaid teacher salaries at 32 schools.
The centre is spearheading a parallel R82-million class action lawsuit involving 90 Eastern Cape schools that have had to pay the salaries of department-employed teachers.
It takes a lot of official apathy to allow schools to get into so desperate a state that they take such last-ditch legal action. And it occurred in a province whose education department was placed under national administration in 2011.
Perhaps Motshekga took her eyes off the road, thinking the Limpopo textbook problems could not possibly return to court after her director general, Bobby Soobrayan, seemingly the fall guy for the crisis, requested redeployment in April.
She might also have been too busy failing to convince political stakeholders in the Northern Cape to stop using pupils as pawns to force the government to build a road.
But she did show us a hint of the political will an effective minister needs when she unequivocally rebuffed the South African Democratic Teachers Union’s call to scrap the annual national assessments – one of her finer initiatives – saying these tests were “non-negotiable”.
More declarations like that and she might one day find it is not as impossible to reach constitutional and policy “perfection” (by providing resources) as she thinks.

Grade Key

Take a bow. You are doing an excellent job.
Good, but room for improvement.
You're okay.
Get your act together.
Do yourself and the country a favour - resign.
You're fired.