Sadtu demands action on Limpopo textbooks report

The South African Democratic Teachers Union has given Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga seven days to act on the Limpopo textbooks report. (Gallo)

The South African Democratic Teachers Union has given Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga seven days to act on the Limpopo textbooks report. (Gallo)

The union said a thorough investigation was necessary into those named in the presidential task team report on the Limpopo textbook crisis.

"Sadtu calls for the investigation to take place as a matter of urgency and no stone to be left unturned because we don't want to see a repeat of [the] Limpopo saga in 2013," said general secretary Mugwena Maluleke.

He was speaking at an "urgent" press briefing on Wednesday, in the wake of the release last week of the much awaited presidential task team report. The report recommended that the public service commission investigate, among others, basic education director general Bobby Soobrayan.

The union gave Motshekga seven days "to operationalise the president's instruction".

It also called on Motshekga to "institute a forensic audit" of Lebone Group Holdings, a sister company of the winning bidder for the distribution of workbooks. The bidder, Lebone Litho Printer, is tied to Soobrayan's former fiancé's mother-in-law, it said, and Soobrayan "was implicated in potential conflict of interest and allegations to corruption regarding the tender".

If the minister did not meet the union's deadlines "it would take action".

Delivery of outstanding textbooks
The report asked Motshekga to provide a feedback on "what has been done thus far" on the delivery of outstanding textbooks and the proper implementation of the catch-up plan for Grade 10 pupils "within 21 days from September 21".

Basic education department spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi refused to give comment to the Mail & Guardian.

Anyone who was found guilty during the commission's investigation, Maluleke told the M&G, "must be gone", but he was "mindful of due processes that needed to be undertaken first".

Asked to comment on the absence of the minister's name and that of the Limpopo education minister Dickson Masemola from the report, he said although they were "ultimately responsible for those below them" they were, "not at the operational level".

Maluleke criticised the adverts placed in weekend newspapers by the department over legal action taken against it by rights organisation Section27. The adverts intended to "set the record straight" over a North Gauteng High Court judgment last week and slated the organisation's actions as "unnecessary and a waste of valuable time and resources". They also criticised the media for its disregard for the "enormous nature of the task".

The union said it was "shocked" by the adverts which he termed as "wasteful spending".

Victoria John

Victoria John

Victoria studied journalism, specialising in photojournalism, at Rhodes University from 2004 to 2007. After traveling around the US and a brief stint in the UK she did a year's internship at The Independent on Saturday in Durban. She then worked as a reporter for the South African Press Association for a year before joining the Mail & Guardian as an education reporter in August 2011. Read more from Victoria John

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