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A new deadline for the delivery of textbooks to Limpopo schools has been set, the basic education department and rights group Section 27 said on Thursday.
During a meeting on Thursday both sides agreed all books would be delivered to schools by or on Wednesday, June 27, they said in a joint statement.
The new books would be mainly for Grades One, Two, Three and Ten, with top-ups for the other grades bought directly from publishers for R126 million.
The department would also provide Section 27 with written updates on the progress of the deliveries on June 23, 25, and 26. On June 27 a joint media statement would be made on the conclusion of delivery.
School principals would then make arrangements with students to collect their textbooks on June 28, to enable them to study over the coming school holidays.
They also agreed that the catch-up plan, as ordered by the High Court in Pretoria, would be developed by the department with input from Section 27.
The court-ordered deadline for delivery of textbooks in Limpopo was Friday, June 15. The new books would be mainly for Grades One, Two, Three and 10, with top-ups for the other grades bought directly from publishers for R126 million.
On Wednesday Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga expressed shock after learning of her department's failure to meet the deadline.
On Thursday morning the DA offered Motshekga a fleet of vehicles, which it would pay for, to help with the delivery, but the department declined.
“They have declined. The minister is protecting her own reputation at the expense of young people getting textbooks,” Democratic Alliance national spokesman Mmusi Maimane said.
The department was unavailable for comment, but it earlier confirmed receiving the offer.
DA MP Annette Lovemore on Thursday called for an independent inquiry into the matter. Given the provincial department was now under the national department's control, Motshekga was ultimately responsible for ensuring the books were delivered on time, she said in a statement.
“Her reaction is inexcusable.”
Lovemore said the fact that Motshekga was unaware the textbooks were not delivered was a clear indication she was not taking children's education seriously.
“That her department has to call on opposition parties to determine which schools remain without textbooks is further proof of this. It sends a powerful message that the people of Limpopo cannot trust the minister or this government to deliver the most basic services to the South African public.” - Sapa