Call for textbooks probe
As the Department of Basic Education asserted yesterday that it had met Wednesday' s deadline for delivering textbooks to Limpopo schools , Section 27, the non-government organisation that took it to court, called for a public inquiry.
Section 27 spokesman Mark Heywood said an investigation was necessary to prevent a recurrence of the textbook debacle.
He called on the department and book publishers to confirm that though R4.7-billion was budgeted for and spent on textbooks annually, the publishers' revenue was less than R2-billion.
Heywood acknowledged the department's cooperation but said that it came only after "missing several of [its] own deadlines and after an unnecessary denial before the courts".
The department said 99% of the 5000 schools in Limpopo had received their textbooks by Wednesday's deadline. It said the foundation phase received 100% of the books. Only 3% of Grade 10s did not receive theirs, it said.
Bobby Soobrayan, the department's director-general, said: "The procurement and delivery of stationery and textbooks to schools would ordinarily be carried out within a cycle of 10 to 20 months. Given the urgency and importance of this exercise, a communique was issued to district and circuit [education] officials for principals to make themselves available to collect and deliver the textbooks to schools."
D A MP and education spokesman Annette Lovemore claimed that at least 129 schools in Limpopo had not received their textbooks, had received wrong titles or did not receive the full consignment .
Panyaza Lesufi, the department's spokesman, said the Nelson Mandela Foundation had been approached to convene an education summit that Minister of Education Angie Motshekga and education NGOs would attend.
The DA has said that it will march to the Limpopo education department's offices in Polokwane on Monday.
Soobrayan said the department was disappointed that some principals did not make themselves available to receive their consignment of textbooks. He said disciplinary action would be taken against them .
Section 27's Heywood said the department had attempted to "shift the burden of its failure" onto principals, parents and pupils.
"This is unfair and inappropriate. We need shared responsibility and maximum collaboration in realising the learners' right to a basic education," Heywood said.
Lovemore said the DA had asked Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate why the textbooks were not delivered on time.
"We're not asking for an investigation into EduSolutions because that is being done by the Treasury. We'll be looking closely at the investigation. What we want to know is why books were not delivered to schools in the first place.
"We also want the minister to establish a commission of inquiry. We would prefer an independent commission headed by a judge."