Johannesburg - Textbook delivery delays in Limpopo were a “barbaric act”, the Congress of SA Students (Cosas) said on Tuesday.
“We see the frustration encountered by the student(s) as no less than a barbaric act that seeks to set the country backward,” acting secretary general Tshiamo Tsotetsi said in a statement.
The textbook delivery was over seven months late, with only five months of the school year remaining.
The delays amounted to depriving school pupils of their constitutional right to education.
Tsotetsi said the company responsible for text book dumping should face criminal charges and be prevented from receiving future government tenders.
Cosas called on President Jacob Zuma to evaluate Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga's performance.
“We remain dissatisfied about her obsession on the HIV/Aids testing of the learners at schools, when the credibility of the department is at the state of collapse.”
Motshekga's proposed catch-up plan needed the participation of pupils' parents, as well as senior pupils and students at tertiary institutions to ensure its success, Tsotetsi said.
The Democratic Alliance said everyone involved in the dumping and destroying of textbooks needed to be punished. Party spokeswoman on education Annette Lovemore was commenting on Motshekga's call on Monday for the arrest of service providers who allegedly dumped and burned textbooks intended for Limpopo schools.
“But the minister has overlooked the fact that contractors who were burning and shredding textbooks claimed that they were doing so at the instruction of education department officials.”
Lovemore said Motshekga had previously claimed that destroying textbooks was a normal annual procedure, because certain books were of no use to pupils.
The DA wanted to know whether department officials had ordered the destruction of books and if so, for what reason.
“Everyone involved must be brought to book, including the officials mandated to manage the process,” Lovemore said.
On Tuesday, the department of basic education said the delivery of textbooks in Limpopo would be independently verified. This agreement was reached with rights organisation Section 27, which took the department to court over delivery delays.
“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. - Sapa