INSTEAD of admitting to her failure, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga continues to rub many South Africans the wrong way with her refusal to take responsibility for the Limpopo textbook crisis.
Yesterday, her office labelled calls for her resignation “misguided”. This was despite the minister’s being embroiled in one of the worst scandals ever to hit post-apartheid SA.
First, Motshekga had the audacity tell South Africans who were demanding answers that she didn’t deliver textbooks. She followed this up with arrogantly giving herself a near-perfect eight out of 10 when asked how she would score her annual performance.
This was despite SA’s education system being in a shambles that had left thousands of pupils without learning material for more than six months while several discoveries of burnt or dumped textbooks had been made across Limpopo. Yesterday, her office reacted angrily to calls by the ANC Youth League and the Congress of SA Students for her axing.
Prominent South Africans including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele, Nobel Prize in Literature winner Nadine Gordimer and former president FW de Klerk have also condemned Motshekga for the textbook crisis.
It is not difficult to trace where Motshekga’s attitude stems from. She is, after all, a member of President Jacob Zuma’s inner circle – whose support will come in handy at the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung later this year in which Zuma will seek re-election. Motshekga is also the president of the ANC Women’s League, a powerful voting bloc within the party.
We are aware of the ongoing investigation by an inter-ministerial task team appointed by Zuma, but, judging by his recent public statements, in which he said Motshekga could not be held accountable for the crisis as she sat in an office in Pretoria, Zuma has virtually exonerated her, reducing the probe to a formality.
However, pressure is mounting on Zuma from within his own party to take action on his ally. Now, Zuma should do what many South Africans and many within his own party want him to do – show Motshekga the door.