No report yet from dept on textbooks

2012-06-28 14:38
(File, Shutterstock)

(File, Shutterstock)

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Johannesburg - Civil rights body Section 27 was on Thursday awaiting a report from the basic education department on the status of the delivery of textbooks to Limpopo schools.

"We have not received the report from the education department," Section 27 spokesperson Mark Heywood said by noon.

"We have been in contact with officials at the department, who said the minister is currently looking at the report and we can expect it any minute now."

The department had an agreement with rights organisation Section 27 that all schools in the province would receive textbooks by Wednesday night.

Addressing the media

Earlier, Heywood said it had only anecdotal reports from the ground, but expected to have a full report from the department at 09:00, ahead of a joint press conference at 14:00 in Johannesburg.

"If we do not receive the report soon we might not have enough time to go through it ahead of the press conference. We need to call a few people and go over the report before we can address the media."

The department was initially ordered in May to provide Limpopo schools with textbooks by June 15. The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled in May that the department's failure to provide textbooks violated the Constitution.

Section 27, which brought the application, met the department after the first deadline expired, and it was decided that delivery of the textbooks be completed by Wednesday.

Earlier, the SA Principals' Association said not all schools in Limpopo had received textbooks by Thursday, despite the department's claim it had met its deadline.

‘Didn’t meet deadline’

"What do they [education department] mean they met their deadline? Even if one school didn't receive textbooks it is one too many," the association's deputy president, Ngoako Rapaledi, said.

"They can't say that they met their deadline. I am on my way to a school where they have to still deliver textbooks. That same truck has more deliveries to do for this morning. What deadline?" he asked.

However, education department spokesperson Hope Mokgatlhe said by Wednesday night all the textbooks had left the warehouse.

"If people say we have not met our deadlines, they must bring evidence. There might be a few schools that have not received their books because there was no one at the yard, but the books are there."

The Democratic Alliance in Limpopo was closely monitoring the deliveries.

"I can say with 100% certainty that the department didn't meet their deadline," DA education spokesperson Desiree van der Walt said.

DA member threatened with arrest

"Many teachers waited 'til late last night and previous nights, in unsafe conditions, for textbooks to be delivered, and they were not delivered.

"Late Wednesday night, there were still warehouses with pallets of thousands of textbooks that needed to be delivered."

Beeld newspaper reported on Thursday that Van der Walt had been threatened with arrest when she wanted to move books scheduled for destruction.

SA Democratic Teachers' Union provincial secretary Matome Raphasha said intervention was needed in the textbook crisis.

"We have seen more problems than solutions," he said.

Workers at a private warehouse, which was tasked with textbook delivery, said more books were delivered on Wednesday and some had yet to be packaged and distributed to schools.
Read more on:    textbook saga

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