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Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has declined an offer of a fleet of sponsored vehicles to deliver textbooks to Limpopo schools, a DA spokesman said on Thursday.
“They have declined. The minister is protecting her own reputation at the expense of young people getting textbooks,” DA national spokesman Mmusi Maimane said.
The department was unavailable for comment, but it earlier confirmed receiving the offer.
On Thursday, the DA offered Motshekga a fleet of vehicles, which it would pay for, after the department missed a court-ordered delivery deadline on Friday, June 15.
Later, during a meeting between the basic education department and rights group Section 27, a new deadline was set for the delivery of the textbooks.
It was agreed all books would be delivered to schools by or on Wednesday, June 27, they said in a joint statement.
The new books would be mainly for Grades One, Two, Three and 10, with top-ups for the other grades bought directly from publishers for R126 million.
The department would also provide Section 27 with written updates on the progress of the deliveries on June 23, 25, and 26. On June 27 a joint media statement would be made on the conclusion of delivery.
School principals would then make arrangements with students to collect their textbooks on June 28, to enable them to study over the coming school holidays.
They also agreed that the catch-up plan, as ordered by the High Court in Pretoria, would be developed by the department with input from Section 27.
The court-ordered deadline for delivery of textbooks in Limpopo was Friday, June 15. The new books would be mainly for Grades One, Two, Three and 10, with top-ups for the other grades bought directly from publishers for R126 million.
On Wednesday, Motshekga expressed shock after learning of her department's failure to meet the deadline.
DA MP Annette Lovemore on Thursday called for an independent inquiry into the matter. Given the provincial department was now under the national department's control, Motshekga was ultimately responsible for ensuring the books were delivered on time, she said in a statement.
“Her reaction is inexcusable.”
Lovemore said the fact that Motshekga was unaware the textbooks were not delivered was a clear indication she was not taking children's education seriously.
“That her department has to call on opposition parties to determine which schools remain without textbooks is further proof of this. It sends a powerful message that the people of Limpopo cannot trust the minister or this government to deliver the most basic services to the South African public.” - Sapa