Principals questions clerk's arrest
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The arrest of a junior clerk in the Limpopo education department in connection with workbooks dumped in Giyani has raised eyebrows in the small rural town.
Tsakane Kubayi made his first appearance in the Giyani Magistrate's Court on Tuesday and, the following day, he was granted bail of R2 000.
About 700 workbooks were found dumped near a Giyani dam, the Mail & Guardian reported last week. The basic education department denounced the dumping of the grades eight and nine books as "an act of sabotage".
Police had to "arrest these culprits without further delay", the department said. Kubayi was arrested on Monday.
More questions than answers
But this week local school principals said his arrest had generated more questions than answers in the town, which is 150km from Polokwane.
"I don't see how an ordinary clerk in the district office would just decide the fate of books," one principal, who asked not to be named, told the M&G.
Another principal who spoke to the M&G outside the court on Tuesday afternoon asked: "Would a junior clerk determine how and where books are distributed?"
He said "someone senior" had to be responsible for the "itinerary" (books delivery sheet) Kubayi is said to have signed.
Primary school principals in the area said the case interested them because their own schools still did not have all their workbooks.
The companies responsible for printing and distributing these books nationally, Lebone Litho and Paarl Media, said all workbooks had been delivered by March.
But the local circuit office sent principals text messages on Friday last week asking which workbooks they still lacked. One text message, which the M&G saw, read: "All public primary schools should report shortages of workbooks in their schools as a matter of urgency today, Friday [last week]. Phone Khanyisa and give details of your school. National department is here. Sorry for the inconvenience."
Responding to the message, one principal said: "It's now clear that it's not just my school facing a shortage of workbooks."
A serious offence
On Tuesday, state prosecutor Sewela Rangwato told the court that Kubayi should remain in custody: "This is a serious offence. It warrants proper investigation by the police."
But on Wednesday Rangwato did not oppose Kubayi's bail application, which was granted.
One teacher asked: "How can the case be serious yesterday [Tuesday], but turn to something else today?"
Giyani police spokesperson Thomas Makhubele said: "We have no information about where the books that were dumped came from and where they were going."
Provincial police spokesperson Ronel Otto said information supplied by the Limpopo education department had led to Kubayi's arrest.
"We followed information from the department. It's still early days in the investigation. More people could be arrested," Otto said.