Mixed reports on Limpopo textbooks

2012-06-27 19:31

Johannesburg - There were conflicting reports on Wednesday on whether the department of basic education would meet its deadline for delivery of textbooks to Limpopo schools.

Rights organisation Section 27 said a mixed picture was emerging by late afternoon.

"We have been informed by the head of the intervention team in an SMS that delivery of textbooks for Grades R, One, Two and Three has been completed," spokesperson Mark Heywood said in a statement.

"However, at the same time we have received reports from some primary schools that they have still received no textbooks at all."

The department of basic education was initially ordered to provide Limpopo schools with textbooks by 15 June in May.

The High Court in Pretoria in May ruled that the department's failure to provide textbooks violated the Constitution.

Section 27, which brought the application, held a meeting with the department after the first deadline expired, where it was decided that delivery of the textbooks should be completed by Wednesday.

Heywood said the organisation would "take whatever further steps are necessary" if the department failed to comply with the court order, in which Judge Jody Kollapen also ordered the department to devise a catch-up plan.


Section 27 did not have enough information to say whether the department would meet the target. "While the progress reports we have received relating to Grade Ten textbooks reflect that the delivery is almost complete, we have reason to believe that some of these reports are not accurate."

The principal of one school, which the department claimed had received 99.7% of its textbooks, told the organisation that no books had arrived.

"Despite many attempts, we have been unable to reach senior officials in the department today to obtain urgent updates as to the state of delivery."

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga's spokesperson Hope Mokgathle denied that officials were avoiding answering the rights group's questions.

"That cannot be true," she said.

Mokgathle said she was confident that all books would be delivered to schools by midnight and the department was monitoring the progress.

School principals were told to expect the deliveries, possibly outside normal working hours. Motshekga was eager to co-operate with Section 27 and wanted to set up another meeting with them, she said.


Earlier, Democratic Alliance education spokesperson Desiree van der Walt said the department would not meet the deadline.

"A systemic problem in all schools with incomplete orders is that they are not receiving the maths and science books they need."

Provincial DA spokesperson Jamie Turkington said schools had not been notified that the textbooks would be delivered on Wednesday, and some were not prepared to receive them.

"In the Polokwane district, for instance, delivery trucks arrived at Tom Naude High School, but had to be turned away, because no one [at the school] was notified by the department that books were arriving."

Director general of basic education Bobby Soobrayan said the process of delivering the textbooks was on track.
"Yesterday [Tuesday] books for Grades One to Three were distributed and today [Wednesday] we are working on Grade Ten."

The department expected that some schools might need extra books if there were administrative errors in the numbers of pupils at each school.

To accommodate this, additional books were available, he said.

  • nspaynter - 2012-06-27 19:53

    The problem is very poor management. Present managers have been promoted (or given) their positions purely on their race and gender. There are many white male managers who are capable of doing the job, but like the school books that have been sent out for shredding, they are not needed or wanted in the system anymore, no matter how good their qualifications.

      pierre.flyadvertising - 2012-06-27 20:11

      Don't forget the tendepreneurs now who got this intitial project.probably 20 X5 BM and 20 Audi Q7 bought on the back of these tender!jujus mob in limpopo all quiet

  • Erna - 2012-06-27 20:05

    Deny, deny, deny - then lie. Then it was a misunderstanding or taken out of context. Why does everyone have to be inconvenienced because the education department cannot deliver books.

  • ditoare.gypsy - 2012-06-27 22:37

    Limpopo province is not interested in education, they were guaranteed tenders by malema, why they were quiete about this all these years? to save more cost the education interested pupils must be transfered to other provinces, then maybe malema will make use of now ex-department of education employees in limpopo. The weed is growing in his farm

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-06-28 02:01

    Up to age 7 are the most important formative years for any child. Grade R - Grade 3 fall within those years. Government has abandoned those children that have not yet received their books. These lost months can simply never be caught up. All parents of children that have been abused by the system should make a formal protest. And please use your next vote with wisdom and not coercion or fear! Quality education and services areis your right.

  • - 2012-06-28 06:55

    What happened to the days when an issue like this would embarrass the hell out of the government, the head of that department would be immediately fired without pay and the problem resolved quickly and properly? Oh sorry, those were the apartheid days. Angie has her spokesperson talking to the media (not herself), there are 'administrative errors' regarding the number of books required at each school and we have principals at schools saying nothing has been received while the department says deliveries are complete. No-one can convince me that things are better than the 'good old days'......

      whyeti - 2012-06-28 07:12

      @kevin, People used to take pride in their achievements, today it seems to be a case of continual buck passing and no one is responsible when things go wrong or do not happen. The gravy train has become juicer over the years and it is more important to enrich oneself at the expense of the community.

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