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Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has not fired former education minister Anis Karodia, despite telling the media she had done so, it was reported on Sunday.
Motshekga had blamed Karodia for the department's failure to deliver textbooks to Limpopo pupils.
However, in a letter sent on May 14, she apparently thanked him for his “sterling work” in the province, City Press reported.
He was scheduled to join the education intervention team in the Eastern Cape, but declined and went back into retirement.
“Motshekga must apologise to me and speak the truth to the public,” Karodia told the newspaper. “She must clear my name and speak the truth.”
Karodia told City Press the province's previous administrator had underestimated the complexity of the delivery.
The Sunday Times reported that, in an open letter to Motshekga, six civil society organisations said they were “deeply concerned” by the failure to deliver textbooks despite a court order to do so.
The letter was signed by the Legal Resources Centre, Section 27, Equal Education, the Centre for Child Law, the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, and the Equal Education Law Centre.
They cited several problems, including the state of school infrastructure in townships and rural areas, the shortage of desks and chairs, the non-delivery of books, and the failure to combat rising sexual violence and corporal punishment.
The magnitude of the problems represented “a catastrophic failure in the public education system.” the weekly newspaper reported.
A City Press editorial asserted that education was in crisis and slammed Motshekga's description of the state's failure to deliver textbooks as “a problem, not a crisis”.
“The minister is wrong. We have a crisis,” according to the editorial.
“No amount of nonchalance or evasion by the education department can change the fact that when children have to rely on courts to get textbooks it means we have deep-seated problems in our education system.” - Sapa