Department says 'most' books have been delivered
THE Department of Basic Education is confident that 99% of the 5000 schools in Limpopo had received their textbooks by the deadline.
The department and non-governmental organisation Section 27 have decided to get an independent verification of the progress reports relating to delivery.
The department said 100% of the books were delivered to the foundation phase and only 3% of Grade 10s did not have books.
The Democratic Alliance's education shadow minister Annette Lovemore said that at least 129 schools in Limpopo had not received any books, received the wrong books or did not receive enough books.
Last month the department was ordered by the Pretoria High Court to deliver books to Limpopo after the NGO Section 27 made an application.
Section 27's Mark Heywood said the department needed to stop blaming teachers and take responsibility.
"This should be a shared responsibility. The department must also conduct an investigation into EduSolutions and textbook corruption in general."
The department's spokesman, Panyaza Lesufi, said they had approached the Nelson Mandela Foundation to convene an education summit between Minister Angie Motshekga and education NGOs.
Lovemore and DA national spokesman Mmusi Maimane said they would march to the Limpopo education department offices in Polokwane on Monday.
The department's director-general Bobby Soobrayan said it was hard to deliver the books on a tight schedule.
"The project of 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 the importance of the exercise, a communique was issued to district and circuit officials for principals to make themselves available for the delivery of textbooks to schools."
Soobrayan said by Wednesday morning 97% of all Grade 10 textbooks were delivered from central warehouse and 100% of the Grade 1 to 3 textbooks were delivered from the warehouse.
He said there were problems at warehouses in Thohoyandou because of distributors who did not turn up for their consignments despite being reminded.
"After learning about the Thohoyandou problem, resources were immediately deployed to Thohoyandou to deal with the delivery problems there.
"We were disappointed to learn that some school principals were reported to have refused to come to their respective schools to receive the delivered consignments," Soobrayan said.
He said disciplinary action would be taken against principals who had refused to go to schools.
Lovemore said they had asked Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate why textbooks had not been delivered on time in the province.
"We are not asking for an investigation into EduSolutions because that is being done by the Treasury. We will 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 form a commission of inquiry.
"We would prefer an independent commission headed by a judge, but if she does not take it up we will form our own." - firstname.lastname@example.org