Limpopo appalled by call for MEC's head

2012-07-17 22:37

Johannesburg - The Limpopo education department has rejected calls for MEC Dickson Masemola to quit after a report on the late delivery of textbooks in the province.

"Never in this report, has the report made any determination or insinuated on the ability of the MEC for education, Hon Namane Dickson Masemola, to lead this department...," Masemola's spokesperson Pat Kgomo said in a statement.

The department was "appalled and disappointed" by a statement by Mark Heywood of NGO Section27, which had obtained a court order to force the department to deliver the textbooks.

Heywood said at a press conference on Tuesday: "It is very clear from this and other reports that the Limpopo education [department] is rotten, riven [rife] with corruption, and incapable of meeting its constitutional obligation to learners."

He also called for Masemola to be fired. This call has been echoed by the Democratic Alliance and trade union federation the Congress of SA Trade Unions.

'Not fit for office'

DA spokesperson Desiree van der Walt said: "The Metcalfe Report released [on Monday] on the textbooks debacle in Limpopo now places it beyond any doubt that Education MEC Mr Masemola is not fit for the office he holds."

Section27 had called the press conference to release the findings of an investigation into the textbook delivery situation by former education director general Mary Metcalfe.

She had been asked by Section27 and the department of basic education to be the independent authority who would verify the state of textbook delivery to schools serving Grades 1 to 3 and Grade 10 pupils in the province as at June 27, in compliance with a court order.

The court order was obtained by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies acting on behalf of Section27, Hanyani Thomo Secondary School, and Tondani Lydia Masiphephethu for the delivery of the books and a catch-up plan for Grade 10s.

At the time the order was granted on May 17, Judge Jody Kollapen in the North Gauteng High Court ruled that the failure by the national and provincial education departments to provide the textbooks was a violation of the right to a basic education, according to a summary of the case on Section27's website.

According to Metcalfe's report, the department had not delivered 98% of books by the deadline of June 27, as it had claimed.

The report found that Section27 believed the department's figures should have reflected the receipt of books by schools.

The department said its figure of 98% actually represented the number of textbooks dispatched to warehouses for delivery.

"Professor Metcalfe's report shows that on 27 June only 15% of books had been delivered to schools. By July 3 this had increased to 48%," Heywood said.

'Irresponsible statement'

"According to the report, by July 11, 22% of the sample schools were still awaiting textbooks."

Kgomo said the Limpopo education department welcomed the report made public as agreed by Section27 and the department of basic education.

The agreement and the court case was based on the fact that the Limpopo department of education was put under a Section 100 (1) (b) notice.

This took place last year after the Limpopo government had used up its overdraft of R7m and had tried to increase it to R1.7bn to pay salaries in November.

Kgomo said Metcalfe had not been appointed to investigate the Limpopo department of education but to verify the state of the delivery of textbooks to schools.

The report had made findings on that matter and other issues which would have contributed to the conclusions, and hence the department welcomed it, but it didn't make determinations on Masemola.

"Where is Mr Heywood deriving his statement from? What are other reports he has in his possession which led him to utter such [an] irresponsible statement. We reject Mr Heywood’s statement with the contempt it deserves," Kgomo said.

Masemola has gone on record saying he will co-operate with the provincial intervention task team.

Besides Metcalfe's report, two other investigations are underway.

A presidential task team and the Limpopo government are also conducting their own investigations into the situation, which had been accompanied by media reports of textbook dumping and irregular ordering and tender processes.

Comment was not immediately available from the office of the Limpopo premier.

  • kimsaiyanprincess.murison - 2012-07-17 22:44

    - We all know this is a conspiracy by the government to keep the masses uneducated and thus voting for them. Where will it end???

      wesley.nel.5 - 2012-07-18 03:14

      I see they call him " Hon Namane Dickson Masemola," and not comrade Namane Dickson Masemola, wonder why

  • michael.i.wright - 2012-07-17 23:00

    Appalled? They like that word in Limpopo. And they have so many opportunities to use it.

      devon.riley.52 - 2012-07-18 03:19

      They aren't appalled by the fact that education is non-existent in Limpopo. They are only appalled when you want to put a ANC cadre's head on the chopping block. Banana anyone?

  • - 2012-07-17 23:02

    The fella has to go. He has forever altered the educational journey of so many pupils by his poor stewardship of that department. Heads have to roll, starting with Cassel and then him. There is no justification whatsoever to keep people who allow rot to happen on their watch. There is nothing 'Honourable' about Hon Dic*!

  • elmarie.viljoen.7 - 2012-07-17 23:34

    Fire his ass - plain and simple!

  • thabojames.mohanoe - 2012-07-18 00:15

    its long overdue.

  • sabelo.nogenge - 2012-07-18 00:17

    Limpopo Ed is ùnder administration(national government) then, who supose tø get the axing? Well done to the two primary schools and the centre for going an extra mile. Big ups!

  • sabelo.nogenge - 2012-07-18 00:17

    Limpopo Ed is ùnder administration(national government) then, who supose tø get the axing? Well done to the two primary schools and the centre for going an extra mile. Big ups!

  • tw2066 - 2012-07-18 01:39

    The ANC have taken no accountability upto now, why should this f4rt be any different? I know, lets vote for thieves again?? NOT!

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-07-18 01:42

    How come there are no "viva ANC" comments here?

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-07-18 01:45

    Maybe if the ANC ingrates this problem it will go away? Like all the unpaid suppliers ( especially medical) who quietly went out of business because of non payment - from 2005 to 2012. Really nice. Really trustworthy. Something to be very proud of! I wonder who pocketed all that money - each and every thief should be traced and made to pay it all back.

  • sefako.mokgalaka - 2012-07-18 01:47

    Angie and co think it's normal for a South African child to study without a proper curriculum and textbooks. They have completely forgotten that they were given a mandate to serve. I bet their children are attending private schools because the public schools are not good enough.

  • vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-07-18 05:28

    I am starting to wonder whether there is any difference between political speak and blatant lies. At the time of the delivery fiasco, the education department spokesperson stated emphatically that 99% of the text books were delivered. He went on to then arrogantly state that those schools that did not receive the books were at fault because the trucks were there, but the principals were not at school to receive them. Now they say that 98% represents the textbooks that were delivered to warehouses and not to schools!?!? Angie has given herself an 8 out of 10 rating for her performance. The department spokesperson continues to behave as though they are doing the children a favour through their imcompetence. The Limpopo provincial government is appalled by justified calls for action when they caused these problems through mismanagement, wastage of tax money and theft. I really do not expect the Limpopo voters to support any other political party, but I hope that they abstain from voting at the next election to remind the ANC exactly who puts sushi in their top-of-the-range fridges.

      gail.hayesbean - 2012-07-22 18:12

      Abstention from voting is NOT the answer! Vote for the next strongest party and give them a chance to actually resolve the mess made by the ANC cadres so that those poor grade 10's do not have to repeat the year! Their families have made huge sacrifices so that they can compete on an even footing with all other students in public and private schools. It is the work of those who earn the high salaries to ensure that those at the workface are competent and they have failed hopelessly to do that. They should do the honorable thing and resign before they are suspended on fat salaries because they support a govt which is by and large totally out of their depth. All they are good at organising is stay aways and toyi-toyi-ing crowds.

  • danie.smit.587 - 2012-07-18 05:54

    Is it not possible for the ANC to understand, that although a CEO of a private company earn just as much as a MEC, the CEO will also be the first to be fire if there is a buggerup. In most cases they proud enough to resign out of their own.

  • zimbobwe.mugabe - 2012-07-18 06:44

    This is depressing, even Zimbabwe has never been this incompetent and uncaring. To keep the masses uneducated so as not to have proper information and vote for the right party. Helen Zille pls take over Limpopo!!!

  • godesha - 2012-07-18 06:51

    Oh whatever and in the meantime those children still do not have books. Stop with the investigations and report writing and do something constructive for a change like supplying books. The reports are useless anyway because the guilty party will only get a fat promotion and a huge salary increase as punishment.

  • elthea.schlesinger - 2012-07-22 15:15

    Limpopo should be declared a disaster area (which it IS!!!) especially in the Education and Primary Healthcare departments - and get national and international aid accompanied by an independent assesment committee with turnaround specialists... our government is clearly not competent enough.

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