Axe ‘rotten’ Limpopo education’s MEC – Section 27

2012-07-16 13:17

Section 27, the NGO that took the department of basic education to court over the Limpopo textbook saga has called for the dismissal of provincial MEC Dickson Masemola.

The organisation’s head, Mark Heywood, told a media briefing in Braamfontein today that the provincial education department “is rotten, ridden with corruption and incapable of meeting its constitutional obligation to learners.

“We call for the department to be cleaned out, for the vigorous prosecution of charges of corruption, for maximum openness about those charged and for the MEC for basic education, Dickson Masemola, to be fired,” said Heywood.

He was speaking during the release of a report by Wits University academic Mary Metcalfe who was tasked to probe the department’s failure to deliver textbooks to schools in Limpopo.

Some of the key findings of the report include:
» The provincial government was unable to order books in 2011 for 2012 because the province had overspent its budget;
» Orders for textbooks for Grade 1 to 3 and Grade 10 learners were only placed in the first week of June 2012;
» Because there was no money in the budget for textbooks, the orders had been rationalised and reduced and there had been poor communication with schools as a result of a lack of proper communication infrastructure.

Heywood said only 2% of schools in Limpopo have proper communication infrastructure compared with 99% in the Western Cape.

Some of Metcalfe’s recommendation are:
» that the department of basic education must urgently arrange for a thorough audit of these books and deliver these to those schools most in need or to school and community libraries;
» that a system is established as a matter of urgency to clean up the delivery system and that;
» all officials, including service providers, should undergo extensive training to understand the procurement process and the importance of their roles in preserving the integrity of the distribution value chains.

Basic education ministerial spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi said the department will work together with Section 27 to iron out outstanding challenges.

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