Textbook deadline ‘will not be met’

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iol news pic angie motshekga Independent Newspaper Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Photo: Thobile Mathonsi

The department of basic education will not meet its deadline to deliver textbooks to Limpopo schools on Wednesday, the DA said.

It appeared many schools had not received enough textbooks or none at all by early afternoon, DA education spokeswoman Desiree van der Walt said.

“As the day progresses, it is becoming clear that the deadline for delivering textbooks to all schools in Limpopo will not be met today (Wednesday),” she said in a statement.

Earlier, basic education department director general Bobby Soobrayan said the distribution of textbooks was on track.

“Yesterday (Tuesday) books for Grades One to Three were distributed and today (Wednesday) we are working on Grade Ten.”

Soobrayan said the last boxes of books were being loaded into trucks at a central warehouse. From there, they would be taken to district warehouses and then delivered to schools.

In May, the High Court in Pretoria ruled that the department's failure to provide textbooks violated the Constitution. The application was brought by rights organisation Section 27.

Judge Jody Kollapen ordered the department to devise a catch-up plan to remedy the consequences of the delay, and to supply the affected schools with textbooks by June 15. The department failed to meet the court's deadline.

Section 27 and the department met on Thursday and agreed that all books would be delivered to schools by or on Wednesday.

Van der Walt said the DA, which was monitoring the roll out of books, was aware of at least 40 schools, in Polokwane and Modimolle alone, that had not received all the books needed, or none at all.

“A systemic problem in all schools with incomplete orders is that they are not receiving the maths and science books they need.”

Soobrayan said the department expected that some schools might need extra books if there were administrative errors in the numbers of pupils it had recorded for each school.

To accommodate this, additional books were available.

On Saturday, Cope MP Tshilidzi Ravhuanzwo said “piles and piles” of text books and stationery had been dumped, apparently for disposal, at a site in Seshego, near Polokwane.

Opposition parties expressed outrage at the wastage, as thousands of pupils in Limpopo schools had not been supplied with textbooks.

DA provincial spokesman Jamie Turkington said in a statement the party would monitor the progress of textbook deliveries in Limpopo throughout the day. He said schools had not been notified that the textbooks would be delivered on Wednesday, and some were not prepared to receive them.

“In the Polokwane district, for instance, delivery trucks arrived at Tom Naude High School, but had to be turned away, because no one (at the school) was notified by the department that books were arriving.”

He said some schools did not receive their full consignment.

The DA would donate salvaged books to Lotonang Primary school in Seshego later on Wednesday.

“The books we are donating were salvaged from the site where government was paying a contractor to destroy them,” Turkington said. – Sapa


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