DA marches about Limpopo textbooks

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The DA marched on the offices of the Limpopo basic education department on Monday in protest against the late delivery of school textbooks.

DA Limpopo education spokeswoman Desiree van der Walt said the party had marched in “solidarity with children at... Limpopo schools, who have gone six months of the year without textbooks”.

“A society that is not willing to stand up for the rights of its children fails to take ownership of the future,” she said in a statement.

“Today’s protest is part of the continuing struggle to ensure that Limpopo children are afforded the opportunity to determine their own destiny through access to knowledge.”

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.

Van der Walt welcomed the appointment of former higher education director general Mary Metcalfe to evaluate textbook deliveries to schools in Limpopo.

“Top of her agenda should be to tend to the schools (that)... had not received any textbooks, received the wrong books or had not received enough books as per our online list,” said Van der Walt.

The provincial and national education departments were not immediately available for comment.

Pupils in several Limpopo schools have been without textbooks for the past six months because the department failed to procure books 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.

According to media reports on Sunday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga could face the axe over the bungled textbook delivery.

The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) said on Monday Motshekga had 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 text books 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.

“We would appreciate a similar constructive engagement on this issue beginning with the basic courtesy of replying to us about this issue.”

Sephton said the LRC was acting on behalf of 35 schools in Port Elizabeth.

“It is not desirable to keep pushing forward the implementation of government responsibility through media and public pressure or legal proceedings,” she said. – Sapa


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