The many masks of Angie Motshekga

Western Cape pupils put a face to the school infrastructure crisis by wearing masks of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga's face at a march. (Equal Education)

Western Cape pupils put a face to the school infrastructure crisis by wearing masks of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga's face at a march. (Equal Education)

The march, organised by non-governmental organisation Equal Education, marked the one-month countdown before its landmark school infrastructure case goes to court.

“We’re using her face on the masks because section 5a of the South African Schools Act names her specifically as the only person who can set minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure,” Kate Wilkinson, the organisation’s spokesperson, told the Mail & Guardian on Wednesday.

“If she doesn’t do it, then schools will continue to exist without the infrastructure they need to ensure high-quality education,” she said.

Currently 3 455 schools do not have electricity, 2 402 schools have no water supply and 22 938 schools do not have libraries. In the Eastern Cape there are 395 mud schools, the organisation said in a statement.

A two-year campaign involving picketing, petitioning and fasting, will culminate on November 20 at the Eastern Cape High Court in Bhisho, where the organisation hopes the judge will force Motshekga to publish the norms and standards.

Wilkinson said an Equal Education staff member came up with the idea for the Motshekga masks at a campaigns committee meeting.

“We respect the minister and her position but she needs to be identified as the person who can make a difference, she needs to become a well-known figure,” she said.

“Communities need to know that the person responsible for school infrastructure is Angie Motshekga and that she is the person they need to put pressure on.” 

The department had not commented at the time of publishing.

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Victoria John

Victoria John

Victoria studied journalism, specialising in photojournalism, at Rhodes University from 2004 to 2007. After traveling around the US and a brief stint in the UK she did a year's internship at The Independent on Saturday in Durban. She then worked as a reporter for the South African Press Association for a year before joining the Mail & Guardian as an education reporter in August 2011. Read more from Victoria John

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