The relationship between Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and textbook delivery company EduSolutions must be investigated, the DA said on Sunday.
It would ask Motshekga for details on all her dealings with EduSolutions, said Democratic Alliance spokeswoman Annette Lovemore.
It would also ask her why she promoted the business “despite a history of fraud and incompetence”.
Motshekga had been working with the company since 2008, when she was still Gauteng Education MEC, she said.
“The Limpopo government irregularly awarded a R320 million contract to EduSolutions for textbook provision to Limpopo schools,” said Lovemore.
“The evaluation and specification committee was ignored at the time the contract was awarded.”
The contract was to have been cancelled as soon as the national intervention team arrived in the province to run the education department.
However, she that according to Limpopo education administrator Anis Karodia, Motshekga obstructed its cancellation for six weeks so that the government could continue to do business with EduSolutions.
“Motshekga made this call even though textbooks were late to Gauteng schools back in 2008 when the minister was education MEC in Gauteng and doing business with EduSolutions,” she said.
EduSolutions was also implicated in a fraud scandal for charging the government R13 a pencil.
Motshekga finally agreed in January books could be ordered directly from publishers and, at the same time, promised that all pupils would receive books when schools opened in Limpopo.
“What the minister didn’t tell us was that with just over a week before schools were due to start, not a single book had been ordered,” said Lovemore.
“The textbook crisis Limpopo learners are facing cannot be allowed to happen again,” she said.
The DA's Limpopo spokeswoman, Desiree van der Walt, said the education department's admission that it routinely shredded textbooks was criminal.
“Public money is being spent to destroy reading material in a province where children at over 5000 schools do not have textbooks,” she said.
She called for a full investigation into the destruction of textbooks in the province.
“Our site inspection in Seshego found thousands of perfectly usable books, many of which were still in their original packaging,” she said. - Sapa