Textbook crisis: ANC looking at facts

2012-07-25 18:37
Gwede Mantashe (File, Sapa)

Gwede Mantashe (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The ANC's national executive committee will study a report on the Limpopo textbook saga, secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Wednesday.

He said the African National Congress would also look at the under-performance of municipalities during its NEC lekgotla, which begins this week.

"Obviously, we will be forced (at the lekgotla) to look into the issues of education today. The NEC will look into the Limpopo textbook debacle and the intervention in the Eastern Cape," Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg.

"What is important to me [about the Limpopo report] is that it helped us to take ourselves out of the situation, and the hullabaloo that is at a public level, and into a situation where we can look at the matter on a more factual basis."

He said it would help the party to think about the saga without "emotion or sentimentality".

"If you had only taken information from public announcements, I'm sure you would have heard Cosatu [Congress of SA Trade Unions] general secretary [Zwelinzima Vavi] saying expel that minister and expel so and so," he said.

"We should not make a decision on that basis."

The report by former education director general Mary Metcalfe was compiled in response to the department's assertion that 98% of textbooks were delivered to Limpopo pupils, after schools had been without books for seven months.

It found that despite the extended date for the delivery of textbooks - 27 June - the department's assertion that 98% of the books were delivered was incorrect.

Mantashe said the party was "lucky" to have the report by Auditor General Terence Nombembe on the finances of local government before it held its lekgotla.

"We will pay attention to that report," he said.

The report revealed that only 5% of municipalities received clean audits while none of the metros received clean audits.

Cadre deployment not to blame

Mantashe said the poor performances could not be blamed on the ANC's policy of cadre deployment but instead on "wrong deployment".

"Opponents of cadre deployment confuse cadre development and wrong deployment - it is not the same thing," he said.

"As the ANC... when we deploy a person it should not be [based on] either [their] competency or loyalty. It should be a combination. If people are deployed to a position, they must meet the requirements of that position."

He said people should stop thinking of being a cadre as a "sin".

"If you are a political leader and you appoint dwarfs, you are actually pulling yourself down. If you appoint giants around you, you know that you can stand on the shoulders of giants," Mantashe said.

He said the NEC would discuss more ways of dealing with youth unemployment during the lekgotla.

"When we talk of more jobs and decent work... we can't escape the question of challenges facing young people. The reality of the matter is that... we have [always] said that we cannot just focus on a wage subsidy," he said.

"There is not [just] one solution that can resolve the question of youth unemployment. We should look at all the conclusions and a combination of them. That is our approach."

He said the party would focus on recommendations on mining made during its policy conference.

"I know that there is agreement [in the party] that wholesale nationalisation will not work. I [also] know that there is agreement that there must be bolder state intervention and state participation in the economy."

The party would also discuss health, rural development and the fight against crime and corruption during the lekgotla.

It would be held from 26 to 28 July at the St George's Hotel, near Pretoria.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  anc  |  mary metcalfe  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  terence nombembe  |  gwede mantashe  |  polokwane  |  textbook saga  |  government spending  |  politics

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