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Pretoria - The High Court in Pretoria's judgment on Tuesday confirmed that textbooks were delivered to Limpopo schools and that principals failed to report shortages, the basic education department said.

“The judgment... confirms what the department had been saying, that textbooks have indeed been delivered to all the schools in Limpopo, owing to the credibility of the available data and a lack of co-operation from some school principals who elected not to report shortages to the department,” spokesman Elijah Mhlanga said.

An additional 271 000 books were delivered to schools, including those that were part of the court action, Mhlanga said.

“Schools that had reported shortages are continuing to receive the books on a daily basis.”

A verification process was carried out in March, following an audit at the end of last year.

“The remediation of shortages from the second verification exercise has already begun and the department remains confident that all legitimate shortages will be addressed,” said Mhlanga.

City Press online reported on Tuesday that Judge Neil Tuchten said the department had violated pupils' rights to education by failing to ensure that all of them had all their textbooks before the beginning of the school year.

Last month, Basic Education For All (Befa) took the department to court, supported by civil rights group Section27, because not all pupils in Limpopo had received their textbooks for the year.

The department promised to deliver the textbooks it had failed to deliver since 2012 by June 6. Befa and Section27 had asked for a court order to this effect.

City Press reported that Tuchten refused to grant the order, only noting it. The newspaper quoted Befa's Tebogo Sephakgamela as saying: “I hope the department will now comply with their own promise.”

SABC news reported that the basic education department would pay the costs.

Mhlanga said the court had noted the department's intention to complete all top-up deliveries as soon as possible and to ensure that all pupils received a textbook. He urged schools to report textbook shortages to the department promptly, to ensure swift delivery.