ANCYL threatens action if Angie doesn't go
Pressure has continued to mount on Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga as the ANC Youth League formally called for her resignation.
"Minister Motshekga is herself an obstacle to education; she cannot take responsibilities for the most basic of challenges," league deputy secretary general Kenetswe Mosenogi told a press conference at Luthuli House on Tuesday.
"She must resign within two weeks or we will mobilise our members and occupy the basic education department in Pretoria."
The call for her resignation follows the ANC's demands for "stern action" against whoever is responsible for the crisis, following its national executive committee (NEC) meeting this weekend.
More than seven months into the 2012 school year, the Limpopo government is scrambling to deliver textbooks to nearly 90% of its schools, after textbook delivery company EduSolutions bungled the distribution of the province's educational material to its learners.
According to lobby group Section27, of Limpopo's over 500 schools, only former Model C schools have not been affected by the non-delivery of textbooks.
Motshekga has defended her position on the matter, saying she can't be blamed for the saga, as she is not directly responsible for the delivery of textbooks.
"Saying she's not responsible for textbook delivery shows she's incapable. Minister Motshekga must apologise to the country's learners, to its citizens, to the ANC, to everyone," Mosenogi said.
However, President Jacob Zuma reportedly defended Motshekga from calls by certain NEC members for her to be fired.
It is understood he is loath to remove her ahead of the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung, where he hopes to be re-elected as the party's leader, because Motshekga is also the leader of the ANC Women's League.
In spite of the calls for Motshekga's head, the league remained silent on the Limpopo provincial government's role in the fiasco.
The ANC Youth League's political allies in that province, the home region of their ousted former president Julius Malema, was spared the organisation's wrath on Tuesday.
While it has been reported that Limpopo education minister Dickson Masemola had been made aware of the pending textbook disaster and did nothing to avert it, the league has not called for any action against him or members of the Limpopo government.
While not specifying what form the "mass action" the league promised to take, Mosenogi said the youth body and its affiliates were prepared for anything as long as it ensured the end of Motshekga's tenure as minister.
"You know, we're young people so anything is possible. We will mobilise, easily take to the streets and anything can happen," she said.
Mosenogi was flanked by Congress of South African Students (Cosas) president Bongani Mani, who said Motshekga should do the honourable thing and resign so that Zuma would not be forced to act.
"Our president is 70 years old and we can't put pressure on him to act against her. As an old man, he's got enough to stress about," Mani said.
The Cosas leader also said blame shouldn't be apportioned to Motshekga alone.
"Everyone implicated in this mess must take responsibility and resign – even cleaners. If they are guilty they must go," Mani said
Mani added there was an "abundance of talent" in Parliament waiting to do Motshekga's job.
"Motshekga musn't be begged to lead. Nobody is a holy cow in this ANC – nobody is untouchable," he said.
In spite of increasing criticism against their president, the ANC Women's League remains defiant against calls for Motshekga's sacking.
"The ANC Women's League gives Minister Motshekga our full support during this difficult time and will continue to do so in the future," Troy Martens, ANC Women's League spokesperson told the M&G.
"We understand there may have been instances of sabotage that resulted in the non-delivery of textbooks," said Martens.
"We hope the ongoing investigation yields positive results in that it roots out any rotten elements in the department of basic education."
Zuma's spokesperson Mac Maharaj said the president would only take action, if any, once reports have been delivered from the several investigations he has instituted into the matter.
"The president directed that there should be consequences for anyone found responsible for any wrongdoing that led to the delays in the delivery of books. He is dealing with the matter systematically and thoroughly, putting the interests of education and the children first," said Maharaj.