Limpopo textbooks: Court won't rule on intimidation

2014-04-22 22:09
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria refused on Tuesday to draw any conclusions on allegations that Limpopo school principals who reported textbook shortages were being intimidated.

Judge Neil Tuchten said this would be his stance unless there was a full investigation.

He made the remark during legal argument by Adilla Hassim, counsel for community-based organisation, Basic Education for All (Befa).

Befa, supported by civil rights group Section27, applied for a court order to force Limpopo education authorities to deliver all textbooks to the province's schools by the authorities' own deadline of 6 June.

Hassim said a court order was necessary because the department had in the past failed to adhere to its own deadlines and the applicant did not have the resources to return to court.

They also want to force the department to come up with a plan to prevent the future non-delivery of textbooks, for the Human Rights Commission to police the process and for the court to declare the non-delivery of textbooks a violation of the constitutional right of pupils to basic education.

In court papers the department admitted that over 158 000 textbooks had not yet been delivered to its central warehouse.

Befa contested this figure because the department counted textbooks that had been delivered to its warehouse as already delivered. They regarded the actual delivery as a mere formality.

Hassim said apart from the 39 schools on its list which had not received their full complement of textbooks, at least 15 more schools had approached Section27 but did not want to be identified out of fear or reprisal.

Judge Tuchten remarked that there was no such evidence before court.

Hassim argued that non-delivery at the 39 schools was the symptoms of a systemic failure and that an independent audit by the Human Rights Commission was necessary to ensure that the problem did not recur.

Budgetary constraints

However, the SA Human Rights Commission said in court papers it did not have the resources to police the system.

The department blamed budgetary constraints for the late delivery of textbooks, but Hassim argued they could not use this as an excuse because the national executive had taken over the department's administration in 2011.

She said the responsibility for the delivery therefore rested on both the national and provincial education departments which could have made use of an emergency fund due to the exceptional nature of the problem.

Hassim said the department's contention that no rights had been violated because the vast majority of over six million textbooks had been delivered was "startling".

"The right to basic education is an individual right... each child must have every textbook. It's a bizarre proposition to say that because most have been delivered there has not been a violation of rights," she said.

Hassim also disputed the department's argument that there were other means for teachers to convey the same information, such as chalk boards.

Tuchten remarked that one could then say you did not have to have school buildings because that was not necessary either.

"... I don't understand how they can say it is not part of basic education and if you don't get it [textbooks] it doesn't matter... I understand the respondents to say well, it's not the end of the world because there is education," the judge remarked.

The application continues on Wednesday.

Read more on:    polokwane  |  pretoria  |  education  |  textbook saga

Zuma must share Nkandla

2014-11-23 22:29

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike

Watch this insane drift contest with four-times dirt-track World champion Karl Maier riding a speedway bike against a BMW M235i.

Want to start talking dirty?
Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


Enjoy the view because as from tomorrow you are going to need to come back down to earth and join the party. In the meantime more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.