Mustec: DA caucus leader shocked at Mandela biographies among destroyed books

2012-06-26 00:00

SESHEGO — A biography of former president Nelson Mandela and Shakespeare’s Macbeth are among the school-books being destroyed by the Limpopo Education Department.

Yesterday sister newspaper Beeld visited the disused Mustec teacher training college and found thousands of books in piles outside the building.

Inside, many rooms are filled almost up to knee height in books. Some of the buildings are deserted and are being used for storing old books.

Some of the books are brand new and still in their plastic wrappings.

Besides textbooks in English, Sepedi and Afrikaans for maths, science and economics there are also new books for educating children about Aids, as well as poetry collections.

New, empty exercise books are strewn everywhere. Outside the building are several copies of Afrikaans author Bartho Smit’s Die Keiser and Die vergete vallei by Pieter Pieterse.

Many of the books have been shredded, while piles of others were found burned in the veld outside the Mustec building.

Limpopo’s DA caucus leader Desiree van der Walt collected some of the new books in boxes yesterday morning.

“What is happening here is a disaster. The books are still useable and can be given to libraries or even old-age homes,” she said.

She was extremely shocked to come across the Mandela biographies.

“He is the father of our nation, but books about him are being destroyed in Limpopo.”

The books are from different publishers, including Kagiso Education, Human and Rousseau and Hodder & Stoughton.

Van der Walt said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and Limpopo Education MEC Dickson Masemola should be be sacked.

“How can anyone destroy books in a province where most people are illiterate?”

Education Department spokesperson Pat Kgomo said on Sunday that schools had returned the books to the department “because they could no longer be used”. He did not answer his phone yesterday.

The DA intends delivering some of the useable books to schools, libraries and old-age homes this week. Van der Walt drove from the college grounds with the books yesterday without being stopped by the security guards.

“We want to know who gave the order to destroy the books and why. How long has this destruction been going on?” Van der Walt wanted to know.

She said she submitted a complaint to the Public Protector (PP) last year regarding a R320 million contract awarded to EduSolutions.

“The Education Department could have saved millions if they had bought books directly from suppliers.”

Van der Walt said she doubts whether all schools will have textbooks for Grade 1 to Grade 3 pupils and Grade 10 pupils by tomorrow.

Motshekga said the books will be at schools by tomorrow and pupils must collect them on Thursday and Friday.

Yesterday the media were refused access to the warehouse of the Education Department where the books are stored.

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