Textbooks shredded despite shortage

Half way into the academic year Limpopo pupils still do not have textbooks, and today the Saturday Star can reveal that the provincial education department has shredded and burned textbooks and stationery.

The newspaper visited a site in Seshego, outside Polokwane to find piles of books set to be disposed of. Some of the books had already been burned. Cope MPL Tshilidzi Ravhuanzwo first noticed the operation and told the journalists.

File picture: Cope spokesman Motlatjo Thetjeng, left, and Cope MPL Tshilidzi Ravhuanzwo take stock of the dumped textbooks and stationery. Behind them two men are shredding textbooks. Picture: Moloko Moloto. Credit: INLSA

At the site we found officials shredding the books. Some of the stationery and textbooks were still in bundles and had never been used.

Textbooks for economics, maths and other subjects were strewn about, ready to be destroyed, even though the department had failed to provide thousands of pupils with textbooks.

Ravhuanzwo was shocked that the department was destroying books.

It was only after the Pretoria High Court gave the department until last week to deliver textbooks that it acted. The department missed the deadline, which had been moved to Wednesday.

Joburg based law project Section 27 had taken Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to court over the matter.

Yesterday Motshekga was puzzled to hear that books had been destroyed. She held a press briefing in Polokwane.

Dickson Masemola, the education MEC, who was also at the press conference, also failed to explain why books were being destroyed.

Motshekga said this matter would be investigated.

“Old textbooks should have been used as (the) new textbooks have some topics that are in the old curriculum,” said Motshekga. Alternatively, the textbooks should have used as additional material or placed in libraries.

Motshekga visited the department’s warehouse in Polokwane. She found that piles of textbooks still lay undelivered.

The minister partly blamed Anis Karodia, former head of the intervention team in the provincial department, for the delay.

“I did my part from February… I told the administrator that, if I come after Easter and find that books have not been delivered, I will (fire) him, which I did,” Motshekga said.

At the warehouse officials were packing and loading textbooks on to trucks. Some of the books were destined for schools in Seshego, while others were going as far away as Burgersfort and Thohoyandou. -Saturday Star