A total of 113 children died of malnutrition in Gauteng from April 2015 to March this year, the Democratic Alliance said. File picture: Phill Magakoe

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance is urging the North West education department to ensure the reopening of schools in the province proceeds smoothly on Wednesday.

The party has raised the issue of non-delivery of textbooks to learners, saying that 22 percent of the text books in the province still need to be delivered on the eve of the first day of the new school year.

But the spokesperson for the department disputed this. Elias Malindi said all preparations were going well and schools were ready to receive students in the morning.

“We are at 99 percent in terms of textbook deliveries. Our suppliers are busy delivering stationery at remaining schools. By tomorrow textbook delivery will be at 100 percent,” said Malindi

The North West MEC for Education, Wendy Matsemela, is due to be monitoring the reopening of schools in province. Matsemela will start at Mmanape Secondary School near Rustenburg.

“Our teachers have reported in large numbers yesterday and annual teacher plans have already been delivered to district offices,” said Malindi

The DA also mentioned their worry over unreliable learner transport. The party said: “It is also worrying that difficulties are still experienced in finding service providers for learner transport in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district, as it rather creates the impression that this crucial function has been left until the last minute. “

The Gauteng education department said it hoped that all schools in the province would reopen on Wednesday. However, the province is currently faced with 16 000 students from grade 1 and grade 8 who have not yet been placed at schools.

The department’s chief of staff Oupa Bodibe said the non placement of students was due to the influx of pupils from other provinces.

“We are working around the clock to make sure that children are placed in schools by the 1st of February’ said Bodibe.

He added that the MEC for Education had appealed to schools to accommodate an extra five pupils.

“One of our problems is that there is insufficient classrooms in our province especially Johannesburg and Tshwane but we will have to allocate students,” he said.