Education department ‘in breach of court order’

2013-04-18 12:46

The basic education department is in breach of a court order regarding textbook delivery, civil rights group Section27 has said.

This month, the group visited 19 schools in Limpopo. Of these, nine reported significant shortages of CAPS textbooks for grades 1 to 6, as well as grades 10 and 11, it said in a statement today.

“Most of these schools also reported that they did not receive their full complement of textbooks for 2012.

“This is in breach of the court order handed down by Kollapen J [Jody] on 4 October 2012, requiring textbook delivery for 2012 to be completed by 12 October 2012 and textbook delivery for 2013 to be completed by 15 December 2012.”

This was inconsistent with two sworn affidavits filed by the department in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria confirming that the outstanding textbooks had been delivered.

Section27 said it had written a letter to the department with a number of demands.

These included full delivery of the textbooks by no later than April 26.

The group also wanted the department to appoint an independent person or group to verify the state of textbook delivery in Limpopo by April 19 and have the verification completed by April 30.

Once the verification was done, the outstanding textbooks needed to be delivered by May 7.

“Should the (department) fail to ensure the complete delivery of all CAPS textbooks to all schools in Limpopo, Section27 may approach the North Gauteng High Court on an urgent basis for an order compelling it to do so,” it said.

Department spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi said Section27 was jumping the gun.

He said the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) was investigating the issue of textbook delivery.

“Why jump the gun and hold the department hostage when a chapter nine institute is investigating? Why can’t we wait for that report,” said Lesufi.

The demands made by Section27 were “opportunistic”.

“They know the department is involved in a standoff with Sadtu, and it wants us to negotiate when [the department] is at its weakest,” he said.

The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) is calling for Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and her director-general Bobby Soobrayan to resign.

The SAHRC said today it had reconvened hearings related to its investigation into non-delivery of textbooks across the country.

The hearing started on April 2, spokesperson Isaac Mangena said.

The commission had invited Soobrayan and all provincial education MECs to present oral and written responses to a number of questions around the problems of delivery.

Those who did not present their submissions would be given the opportunity to do so, and those who had could be requested by the commission panel to clarify certain points, said Mangena.

Thirty days after the hearings, a report containing recommendations would be submitted to Parliament.

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