Limpopo - Service providers who allegedly dumped textbooks meant for Limpopo pupils need to be arrested, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Monday.
“We feel this is now an act of sabotage, and we call upon the police to arrest these culprits without further delay,” she said in a statement.
Motshekga said a team was sent to the province to investigate the service providers, and to lay charges against them where appropriate.
These books were not part of the court order to deliver textbooks to schools in the province by June 27, she said. Last week, service providers failed to deliver textbooks after the department had promised to rectify the situation.
Pupils in several Limpopo schools had been without textbooks for the past six months because the department failed to order them on time.
Civil rights organisation Section 27, which won a court order forcing the department to deliver the textbooks, said on Saturday it was concerned at reports of shortages, even after books were supposed to have been delivered.
Motshekga said some of the service providers were “clearly hell-bent on embarrassing the ministry”.
According to media reports on Sunday, Motshekga could face the axe over the bungled textbook delivery.
Earlier on Monday, the Democratic Alliance marched on the offices of the Limpopo basic education department in protest against the late delivery of textbooks. The party demanded that textbooks for 2013 be delivered to schools no later than November 30, 2012.
A database of approved textbook suppliers, with an automated quote-sourcing system, needed to be created to prevent corruption.
“These demands are not unreasonable. In fact, the DA successfully does every single one of these things where we govern,” DA Limpopo education spokeswoman Desiree van der Walt said.
“We challenge the ANC-governed Limpopo to provide the same level of service to learners and schools.”
African National Congress parliamentary spokesman Moloto Mothapo said the DA's march was “opportunistic and unhelpful”.
“It is regrettable that, while various stakeholders have joined hands in an effort to urgently normalise that province's education situation, the main opposition sees the situation as a great opportunity to score few political points.”
He said the DA was reportedly closing down 27 “under- performing” schools in the Western Cape to “doctor” the province's matric pass rate.
The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) said on Monday that Motshekga had also not addressed the lack of textbooks in the Eastern Cape.
“We support the approach of a positive engagement with civil society to resolve the failure to deliver the textbooks in Limpopo and all needed educational materials,” LRC Grahamstown director Sarah Sephton said in a statement.
“We therefore fail to understand the... continued lack of responsiveness to us with regard to critical shortages of workbooks in the Eastern Cape,” she said. - Sapa