Limpopo textbooks debacle continues

Not all schools in Limpopo had received textbooks by Thursday, despite the education department's claim that it had met its deadline, said the South African Principals' Association.

"What do they [education department] mean they met their deadline? Even if one school didn't receive textbooks it is one too many," said the association's deputy president Ngoako Rapaledi.

"They can't say that they met their deadline. I am on my way to a school where they have to still deliver textbooks. That same truck has more deliveries to do for this morning. What deadline?" he asked.

The department had an agreement with rights organisation Section 27 that all schools in the province would receive textbooks by Wednesday night.

Earlier, education department spokesperson Hope Mokgatlhe said that by Wednesday night all the textbooks had left the warehouse.


"If people say we have not met our deadlines, they must bring evidence. There might be a few schools that have not received their books because there was no one at the yard, but the books are there."

Section 27 spokesperson Mark Heywood said it had only anecdotal reports from the ground, but expected to have a full report from the department at 9am.

"There certainly was a big effort, and I think many schools will have their books this morning," Heywood said.

Independent verification needed
"We have received contradictory reports as well, therefore we call for an independent verification of the report. There could be some bad people in the department that will lie and can't be trusted."

Nikki Stein, attorney for Section 27, said they had not received the report by 10.20am.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo was closely monitoring the delivery.

"I can say with 100% certainty that the department didn't meet their deadline," said DA education spokesperson Desiree van der Walt.

"Many teachers waited 'til late last night and previous nights in unsafe conditions for textbooks to be delivered and they were not delivered.

"Late Wednesday night, there were still warehouses with pallets of thousands of textbooks that needed to be delivered."

Beeld newspaper reported on Thursday that Van der Walt had been threatened with arrest when she wanted to move books scheduled for destruction.

More problems
The South African Democratic Teachers' Union provincial secretary Matome Raphasha said intervention was needed in the textbook crisis.

"We have seen more problems than solutions," he said.

Workers at a private warehouse which was tasked with textbook delivery, said more textbooks were delivered on Wednesday and had yet to be packaged and distributed to schools.

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

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

Section 27, which brought the application, met the department after the first deadline expired, and it was decided that delivery of the textbooks be completed by Wednesday. – Additional reporting by Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Sapa
Guest Author

Related stories

In pictures: John Steenhuisen announces his resignation as chief whip of the DA

Following Mmusi Maimane's resignation, the chief whip has also left the party

LIVESTREAM: Hlaudi Motsoeneng appears before state capture commission

The former SABC chief of operations will give evidence at the Zondo commission on Tuesday

LIVESTREAM: Zuma returns for fourth day of Zondo commission testimony

Former president Jacob Zuma is expected to appear before the commission of inquiry into state capture on Friday

LIVESTREAM: Zuma appears before Zondo commission

Former president Jacob Zuma is expected to appear before the commission of inquiry into state capture on Wednesday. Watch the proceedings here

LIVESTREAM: Zuma appears before Zondo commission

The former president is expected to appear before the commission of inquiry into state capture for his second day of testimony on Tuesday

Call for nominations: Women Changing South Africa 2019

Nominate a woman changing South Africa positively
Advertising

Subscribers only

Covid-19 surges in the Eastern Cape

With people queuing for services, no water, lax enforcement of mask rules and plenty of partying, the virus is flourishing once again, and a quarter of the growth is in the Eastern Cape

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

More top stories

Journey through anxious Joburg

A new book has collected writing about the condition of living, yes, with a high crime rate, but also other, more pervasive existential urban stresses particular to the Global South

Football legend Maradona dies

The Argentinian icon died at his home on Wednesday, two weeks after having surgery on a blood clot in his brain

Why no vaccine at all is better than a botched...

As Covid vaccines near the manufacturing stage, a look at two polio vaccines provides valuable historical insights

Under cover of Covid, Uganda targets LGBTQ+ shelter

Pandemic rules were used to justify a violent raid on a homeless shelter in Uganda, but a group of victims is pursuing a criminal case against the perpetrators
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…