The worst education department in South Africa: A timeline

On June 24 President Jacob Zuma signed a proclamation authorising the Special Investigating Unit to investigate the department, but the state of rot and dysfunction is so profound that the prospects of this latest investigation untangling a decades long snarl are dark. Maladministration, incompetence and weak leadership have created a hotbed for corruptive infection so deep that it has left millions of pupils learning with, some say, fewer of the basics required to get an education than there were under the apartheid government – one that actively tried to keep its black citizens uneducated. Thousands of pupils walk long distances to get to schools with pit toilets, leaking roofs and crumbling walls. They fight over an insufficient amount of desks and chairs in classes they share with sometimes 100 pupils. Here is a timeline of the Eastern Cape education department’s last, limping 20 years.