A stack of textbooks left over from the previous year stands in the corner of a classroom at Gcinokuhle High School at which only about half of its pupils arrived on Wednesday. Like many other schools in the area, it had not received stationery or new textbooks from the Department of Education Picture: KHAYA NGWENYA

Johannesburg - Eight months into the academic year, pupils at a rural school in Limpopo still do not have textbooks.

The school governing body (SGB) at Ramalawane Secondary School in Ga-Mphahlele village, south-east of Polokwane, say their repeated pleas to have outstanding textbooks delivered have fallen on deaf ears.

SGB member Masese Madigoe said the school required 105 textbooks for maths, physical science, geography, Sepedi and life orientation.

He said pupils in grades 9, 10 and 11 were affected by the non-delivery of textbooks.

“The inspector (circuit manager) knows about this problem. Every time we ask about the textbooks, they say they aren’t available at the warehouse,” said Madigoe.

On Monday, The Star visited the school, which is situated in an isolated mountainous area.

Patrick Phogole, deputy chairman of the SGB, criticised people who he said “always talk nice words on radio” but fail to deliver.

“When they talk, it’s as if everything is going well.”

Phogole said the school had 88 pupils from Grade 8 to 12.

“Last year, we had 40 learners in total and this year we had 44 others coming, and the circuit used the old list when they delivered textbooks,” he said.

The school principal, a Mrs Caba, refused to comment.

Circuit manager Nandi Mahapa said she would not comment in the media because she did not want to lose her job.

Provincial education spokesman Paena Galane said MEC Thembi Nwedamutswu had given district and circuit officials a directive to immediately deliver the outstanding textbooks at the school.

“She doesn’t accept their explanation that they were not able to find the textbooks at the warehouse.”

He said the officials were given until the end of the week to deliver all outstanding books.

This is the latest chapter of the textbook saga that dates back to 2012.

Nwedamutswu admitted last month during the tabling of her department’s budget vote that textbook delivery was still a problem.

“For the 2014 academic year, the challenges experienced during the delivery of (learner, teacher, support material) relate to inaccurate learner statistical data, learner migration from one school to the other, subject changes as well as schools not reporting shortages timeously,” she said.

Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha promised in his State of the Province address last month, among other things, the “timely delivery of learner support material and proper school management”.

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