Zuma was quizzed by MPs on the shocking ranking of South Africa’s education system by the World Economic Forum as 140th out of 144 countries, to which he responded that this was not a fair comparison as other countries had not experienced Apartheid.
Cope MP Willie Madisha told Zuma that even high-ranking ANC members such as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Pallo Jordan had admitted that the education system was now worse than during Apartheid. He said issues like the non-delivery of textbooks were affecting the poorest of the poor, and that they could not be lifted out of poverty without proper education.
Madisha alleged that there appeared to be a “deliberate strategy” to keep SA uneducated so that more people would be unemployed and dependent on social grants, and would therefore keep voting ANC. He repeated calls for Zuma to fire Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.
Zuma claimed that South Africans were happy with the education system because they knew it was government’s priority. He said South Africa now had more people at school than during Apartheid and “more and better facilities at schools”. On the Limpopo textbooks issue, Zuma said he had received a report from the presidential task team. “I am considering the report and will indicate the way forward in due course.”