Eastern Cape Educastion department Superintendant General Modidima Mannya Picture: Velisile Bukula
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga arrived in the province yesterday in the wake of the resignation of the controversial superintendent-general, Modidima Mannya.
Earlier yesterday Motshekga's spokesperson, Panyaza Lesufi, said the minister was accompanied by five deputy ministers, including Deputy Minister of Basic Education Enver Surty.
Motshekga's delegation met with Premier Noxolo Kiviet to discuss the problems besetting education in the province.
Meanwhile, even though the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) had vigorously campaigned for the removal of Mannya for almost two years, some of the union members thanked him for "the sterling work he had done in the department".
Mannya's contract was due to expire on April 30 and the lack of a new offer prompted him to leave a week earlier.
Mannya joined the department in November 2010.
Sadtu's members who spoke on condition of anonymity said Mannya's broken relations with Sadtu provincial bosses had nothing to do with the administration of the department.
"The sour relationship was politically motivated," they said. "Mannya had done a lot in the department considering its past."
In January, during schooling disruptions by Cosatu as they called for the axing of Mannya, Mannya told The New Age: "When I arrived there were problems. I am surprised that to many it seems as if the problems had been caused by me."
One Sadtu member said: "If I were to rate Mannya out of 100, I would give him 80. He has done a lot in terms of formalising the affairs of the department."
Sadtu provincial secretary Mncekeleli Ndongeni yesterday downplayed the resignation, saying the education department's problems would not necessarily come to an end.
"During apartheid we sang that (FW) De Klerk and (PW) Botha should go. But it did not mean that problems facing the country disappeared," said Ndongeni.
Premier Noxolo Kiviet said on Monday: "This agreement to part ways was reached in the best interest of education in the province.
"It is not by any means a pronouncement on the suitability or not of the head of the department of education." Mannya was not available for comment.