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Team to check on Limpopo textbooks

The delivery of school textbooks in Limpopo would be independently verified, the basic education department said on Tuesday.

This had been agreed with rights organisation Section 27, which took the department to court over delivery delays.

File picture of textbooks in a Limpopo warehouse. Credit: INLSA

“This is necessary both in order to assess the state of delivery of the current textbooks, and to provide recommendations that will assist in future years,” the department said in a statement.

The exercise would focus on learning materials for grades one, two, three and 10 in Limpopo.

“Any outstanding books will continue to be delivered during the course of the validation process, as the priority is to make sure that all books are delivered on an urgent basis.”

The verification team would be led by former Gauteng education MEC Mary Metcalfe. She is also a former director general of the department of higher education and training. Other members included education administrators with knowledge of textbook procurement processes, auditors, and education researchers.

The team would begin working on Wednesday in consultation with officials, teacher unions, and other parties involved in education.

A report would be presented to the director general of basic education and to Section 27 next Friday. It would be released to the public on July 24.

Schools which had not yet received textbooks could contact the department on 0800-202-933.

Any attempt to prevent schools from providing information must be reported to the team. All officials, as well as members of the public, were urged to help the verification team.

The African Christian Democratic Party supported Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga's call for the police to arrest the culprits without further delay.

“Anyone undermining the enormous efforts to strengthen basic education systems is an enemy of the people of South Africa,” ACDP spokeswoman Cheryllyn Dudley said.

“They are also stealing from everyone across the country, taxpayers and even the poorest of the poor, who have much invested in the education of our children and a great deal to lose when the education system fails us.”

The textbook delivery was over seven months late, with only five months of the school year remaining. – Sapa

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