A reply to a DA parliamentary question by the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, has revealed that 9 606 special needs learners are not yet placed in schools.

According to the reply, these learners can be located in the following provinces:

Province 2015/16
Gauteng 1785
Eastern Cape 3244
Free State 621
KwaZulu-Natal 1636
Limpopo 568
Mpumalanga 850
Northern Cape 87
North West 803
Western Cape 0
Total 9 606

It is utterly unacceptable that thousands of children are denied their right to basic education, as enshrined in Section 29 of the Constitution.

It is even more worrying to note that the number of children with special needs who are on waiting lists has increased from 9 232 learners in 2013/2014 to 9606 in the 2015/16 financial year.

The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Nomalungelo Gina, to request that Minister Motshekga be summoned to Parliament to answer for why these vulnerable learners are being treated in this way, and demand that she present a full plan to remedy this situation as a matter of urgency.

The DA will make it clear to the Minister that no child, no matter his or her disability, should be denied access to education.

Education remains the best way to fight poverty and inequality, and ensure that every single person – no matter the circumstances of their birth – can reach their full potential and live a life they value.

Where the DA governs, we treat every single learner as an asset because we know that education is the best way to undoing the legacy of the past.

We will continue to use every mechanism available to us to hold the ANC accountable for the failure to take the education of our children seriously.