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Masemola: Unfair to blame me for textbook debacle

Staff Reporter & Sapa

Limpopo's education minister Dickson Masemola says it is "unfair" that he is being blamed for the Limpopo textbook saga.

Limpopo's former education administrator Anis Karodia has blamed Dickson Masemola for the province's textbook problems. (Pat Seboko, AP)

"It's very, very unfair because people can't take the whole responsibility of the education challenge and place it on Masemola," he told Eyewitness News on Thursday.

"This is totally unfair because if indeed my department was not placed under administration, I will take the responsibility."

Masemola had previously told the Mail & Guardian that he wanted to see this year's Limpopo matrics achieve a 70% pass rate in their exams.

This week he said he was confused by calls for his resignation as he was stripped of his powers when the province was under administration.

"I remain highly committed to my work and I'm very passionate about my responsibility. I love it so much."

He was responding to a report by Wits University education professor Mary Metcalfe, which found that not all Limpopo schools had received their books by the June 27 deadline, despite the department saying 98% of learning material had been delivered.

Human rights organisation Section27 took the department to court to force it to deliver textbooks after some schools in the province had been without them for seven months.

'Subtle interference'
According to a report in the Star on Wednesday, Limpopo's former education administrator Anis Karodia also blamed Masemola for contributing to the department's unauthorised expenditure of R2.2-billion.

As a result, it had failed to provide textbooks to pupils seven months into the school year.

Karodia accused Masemola of "subtle interference" in the awarding of contracts, and added that the bid adjudication committee had been influenced by third parties.

Masemola denied any wrongdoing and said Karodia's report was "pure lies".

The "floating tabloid" report was based on unsubstantiated allegations, Masemola told the Star.

Karodia also called on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to take over the department's tender allocations, invoice processing and payments.

"It is my contention that all tenders above R1-million must be controlled by the national treasury and ... adjudicated by them," Karodia said in a report he compiled. "This will eliminate interference."

He said the department's responsibilities of authorisation, processing, recording and reviewing of transactions should be separated, reported the Star. – Sapa

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