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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma met Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga over the late delivery of textbooks in Limpopo on Tuesday, the presidency said.
“Minister Motshekga explained to the president it was only in May that orders for textbooks could be placed with the publishers,” spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement.
This was because the Limpopo education department and four other provincial departments had been put under national administration.
This made matters “very complex” as there was no legislation to regulate the interventions.
Zuma asked the presidency and the department of co-operative governance to prioritise filling this legislative gap.
“The president also directed that while the legislation is being finalised, a special protocol must be developed to manage relations between the spheres and ensure that service delivery is not affected.”
“When... (this) intervention was introduced... Limpopo had serious cash flow problems, which had serious ramifications for key basic education deliverables, such as the procurement and delivery of textbooks.”
The textbooks would usually have been paid for out of the 2011/12 budget, but due to “poor financial and human resource management and planning” there was no money left to pay for the textbooks.
“The minister has apologised unequivocally for the delays on delivery of the text books to grades 1 to 3 and 10,” Maharaj said.
Motshekga said that some schools had received textbooks and therefore it was incorrect to suggest that no learning was possible in the province.
For example, literacy and numeracy workbooks for Grades One to Nine were delivered on time.
“In addition, readers of the previous year and other resource materials could be used, as teachers were trained on where there was a deviation from the previous syllabus.”
All grade 10 pupils received mathematics and science textbooks on time too.
On reports that textbooks were dumped for disposal, Zuma told Motshekga that it was unacceptable for service providers or officials to destroy limited and precious education resources like books.
“The president appreciated the fact that the minister has instructed the department to take action against the perpetrators,” Maharaj said.
Maharaj said Zuma directed the department of basic education to complete the textbook deliveries, and work with the treasury and provincial government to make sure textbooks were delivered in time next year.
Zuma said those found to be responsible for the textbook delivery delay would face “consequences”. - Sapa