Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga may have weathered the Limpopo textbook crisis storm, but her troubles have just begun.
While opposition parties call for her resignation, her department is facing an unprecedented barrage of litigation from NGOs, schools and school governing bodies. They have decried the deplorable state of infrastructure at schools, and in court papers tell horror stories of the conditions pupils endure for basic education.
In one Western Cape school, pupils are believed to have contracted Hepatitis C – a viral infection that could cause liver damage – from filthy school toilets.
And an Eastern Cape high school has 90 children in a single Grade 9 class, while a primary school in Limpopo has one pit toilet for 90 pupils.
Numerous schools have little or no water supply and in some cases principals have to buy water from neighbouring households. In the Eastern Cape, 23 schools have taken Motshekga and the provincial department to court because they are on the brink of financial collapse due to the unfair allocation of teachers.
Some schools have paid millions in salaries for teachers the department is meant to supply, while at poorer schools pupils have missed six months of instruction because their schools don’t have the money to hire more staff.
Motshekga says her department is not in crisis, but it is clear all is not well in SA’s schools.