14/06/2012. Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga during a media briefing to hihglight recent development in Basic Education, held in Pretoria. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

Johannesburg - AfriForum condemned the basic education department on Tuesday for “threatening” school principals over textbooks delivery in Limpopo.

“The minister and her personnel cannot indefinitely refuse to acknowledge the problem... and intimidate teachers and principals in order to cover up the mistakes and ineptness of the department,” AfriForum deputy CEO Alana Bailey said in a statement.

Bailey said AfriForum heard from several schools that they were still waiting for textbooks. The information was not coming from principals, but from parents.

“Is the department going to threaten parents too?” she asked.

On Monday, the department said no school in Limpopo had not received textbooks.

It said it would start taking action against school principals who used political parties to discredit the department by “spreading lies and misinformation”.

“Those principals who choose to approach political parties instead of the department will be dealt with in terms of the internal processes,” spokesman Panyaza Lesufi told reporters in Pretoria.

The Democratic Alliance said Duiwelskloof Primary school's principal had written letters to parents apologising for the non-delivery of textbooks in core subjects.

Lesufi said the principal's claims would be investigated.

“There is tangible proof that this school received books,” he said, referring to a delivery form with the school's stamp on it.

“There is no way the principal can claim he has not received the books when he has signed for it,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Congress of the People said the department was lying about the state of textbooks delivery in Limpopo.

“Panyaza Lesufi has lied to the public and we are calling on him to apologise and retract his statement,” Cope spokesman in the province Motlatjo Thetjeng said in a statement.

Thetjeng said a sizeable number of schools had not yet received textbooks.

“Most of the secondary schools in the province (are) experienc(ing)a shortage of textbooks in mathematics (and) physical science, while most primary schools are without textbooks in English and technology education,” Thetjeng said.

Lesufi disputed this, saying the department would not retract its statement on textbooks delivery.

“The chairperson of the principals' association in Limpopo has accepted our statement that textbooks were delivered in Limpopo. We have given tangible proof to journalists of all delivery notes to schools.”

The delivery of textbooks stood at 100 percent and the delivery of workbooks was at 97.8 percent, he said. - Sapa