Education ad defended
The department of Basic Education has defended its decision to place adverts in Sunday newspapers criticising NGO Section27 for taking it to court for a third time.
The department spent at least R300 000 on the large full-colour adverts, which were titled "Facts about the Limpopo textbooks high court ruling: Don't be misled".
The adverts labelled Section27's legal action "a waste of valuable time and resources".
The adverts also spoke of the "perceived non-delivery of Grade 10 textbooks".
It said it had delivered 92% of all Grade 10 textbooks by July.
Department spokesman Panyaza Lesufi said it placed the adverts because its "voice was drowned out" in the media coverage of the scandal .
He said placing the adverts was an "unfortunate route, but what else could we do?"
"It cost us thousands of rands to put the information in the public domain but we feel the media is unfair to us."
On Thursday, Judge Jody Kollapen said it was "distressing" that textbooks had still not been delivered to all schools.
He made a third court order that the department "complete all outstanding delivery of textbooks for 2102 by October 12".
Lesufi said when the media reported on the judgment they did not explain what the department had done.
He said the department bought textbooks from Zambia and Swaziland when printers in South Africa could not supply sufficient books.
In response to the adverts, Section27 said it "will not engage in a back-and-forth exchange with the Department of Basic Education through the media".
Neither would the group comment on the "ethics of the advert".
In response to comments by the department about "perceived non-delivery", Section27 said that the court order that the department deliver books meant that some had not been delivered.
The advert also said: "We call on all members of society, including Section27 and its allies, to work with the department rather than against it".
Section 27 said it had tried to work with the department in the past but without success.
"Prior to the most recent court application, Section27 addressed four letters to the department requesting information regarding textbook delivery and the catch-up plan.
"It also asked for meetings with Minister Angie Motshekga and the director-general of the department.
"We have never received responses to any of these requests," it said.
The Deputy Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, reportedly told SAfm that the money spent on the adverts was wasteful and would be investigated. Treasury spokesman Phumza Macanda refused to confirm this.
The advert concluded that Section27 should work with the department"rather than against it to realise the goal of providing a textbook for every child by 2014".