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Education dept welcomes ANC comments

2012-07-30 20:28

Johannesburg - The basic education department welcomed the ANC's remarks on the Limpopo textbook saga on Monday.

"The department welcomes the statement by the African National Congress in respect of the Limpopo textbook delivery," it said in a statement.

"We further note and accept the directives of the ANC... [and] commit to carry out its obligations as directed in the ANC statement."

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Monday that the party agreed at its national executive committee lekgotla last week to direct Treasury to work with provincial and national education departments. This was to ensure that complaints about the non-availability of resources could not be used as an excuse for late delivery.

A dedicated logistics team needed to be established to keep an eye on the matter, Mantashe said. This team would be kept until 2013.

The department said it was developing a national catalogue for textbooks in the country. It said it assessed provincial plans to ensure that the delivery of learning, teaching and support material was concluded on or before 30 November.

"In this regard the [Basic Education] Minister [Angie Motshekga] is meeting with all MECs for education this week to approve [the plans]," it said.

In Limpopo, a meeting would take place on Tuesday between department officials, publishers, and booksellers to conclude a crucial leg in the ordering of textbooks for 2013.

It said it had a catch-up plan for Grade 10 pupils in the province. "We will indeed carry our mandate to intervene in Limpopo... and conclude all outstanding matters," the department said.

"The minister will this week go back to Limpopo to continue her oversight role and assessment... She will [also] meet with officials and school principals this Wednesday and Friday for further engagement."

Mantashe told reporters on Monday that the late delivery was a "serious failure" by the government.

He said all teams investigating the saga needed to reconcile their reports to a presidential task team.

"That final report should be the basis for any action to be taken, including action against any person found guilty of any misdemeanour," he said.

Many organisations and people, including the ANC Youth League and the Congress of SA Trade Unions, held Motshekga responsible for the saga and had called for her axing.