The crisis in the Limpopo books saga and the near-collapse of education in the Eastern Cape will come under sharp focus during the ANC’s national three-day lekgotla starting in Pretoria on Thursday.

These two issues are expected to be top of the agenda following calls by certain sectors within the ANC-led tripartite alliance and the youth league for the axing of Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga over the books saga in Limpopo.

The state of education in the country will dominate the debates and will include plans to set aside budgets for establishing universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said Motshekga had given the ANC’s national working committee a full and satisfactory briefing about the extent of the books crisis in Limpopo, unlike the “hullabaloo” made by other people wanting her to be axed.

The lekgotla would deal with the matter, as well as the problems in the Eastern Cape. They would pay particular attention to the state of higher education.

“We are going to discuss the unbundling of Medunsa from the University of the North. We will also look into the possibility of building a medical school in Limpopo.

“The lekgotla will also deal with the setting aside of budget for the construction of universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape,” Mantashe said.

The revitalisation of nursing, agricultural and teachers’ colleges as well as further education and training colleges would be discussed.

“We want the admission rate to bulge in these colleges. We are also going to assess the dropout rates in our schools and see where it is rife.”

The revitalisation would assist in putting young people into the job market quickly.

The infrastructure rollout plan announced by President Jacob Zuma, a bid to reduce unemployment, was also on the agenda.

“Almost 750 000 private sector jobs were lost between the 2008-2010 financial years,” said Mantashe.

“The slight improvement in the economy has led to the recovery of about 100 000 of these jobs. It is also of great concern that both manufacturing and construction lost jobs last year.”

He defended the ANC’s cadre deployment following criticism of Auditor-General Terence Nombembe’s report that some municipalities were performing poorly due to a lack of political leadership in those institutions.

The problem, Mantashe said, was with municipalities which employed the wrong people in critical jobs, and not cadre deployment.

[email protected]

The Star