R22 million awards dinner robbed schools of textbooks: DA

The Democratic Alliance has slammed the department of education for blowing its budget for the 2015 National Teacher Awards (NTA) dinner, which cost a staggering R22 million to host.

According to the party, this final amount was R6.5 million over the initial budget, described as “an unacceptably extravagant waste of state resources”.

The over-expenditure could have bought approximately 23,600 maths textbooks, 43,000 school chairs or 11,200 school desks, the DA said.

According to a Parliamentary reply on the matter, the money was spent on “build-up process” costs, including transportation, accommodation, adjudication training and provincial ceremonies.

Further costs included transportation, accommodation, catering and prizes for the event itself as well as corporate gifts and television production.

Also listed in the response were “advocacy” fees for the national event and travel agency and professional conference organiser fees.

“Teachers are the backbone of our education system and their efforts and successes must be celebrated. The NTAs are a good opportunity for this, but the cost must be brought down and realistic given the already constrained budget for education,” the DA said.

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R22 million awards dinner robbed schools of textbooks: DA