Johannesburg — Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga expressed her shock on Wednesday after learning of the non-delivery of textbooks for Grade 10 pupils in Limpopo.
"The situation is completely unacceptable. I have demanded a full report about reasons for this delay so that appropriate steps can be taken," Motshekga said in a statement.
She apologised to Limpopo parents and pupils for the situation and made assurances that a recovery plan had been developed so pupils could make up for lost time.
The national department took over the running of Limpopo's education department in December, following maladministration. Motshekga's office was informed that textbook delivery had been completed, but discovered delivery had in fact not taken place.
The department appealed to school governing bodies and opposition parties who had information on outstanding deliveries to pass it on so the matter could be resolved immediately.
Opposition parties said earlier on Wednesday their investigations had revealed textbooks had not been delivered and that Motshekga was in contempt of court.
"The department is in contempt of the court order and both Minister Motshekga and MEC Dickson Masemola have some explaining to do," Congress of the People acting provincial chairman Patrick Sikhutshi said.
"Minister Angie Motshekga is in contempt of court for missing the deadline for these books to be delivered," Democratic Alliance Limpopo spokesman Langa Bodlani said in a statement.
"It is unthinkable that not even a court order can get the department to put textbooks in the hands of schoolchildren more than six months into the school year," said Bodlani.
Sikhutshi said it was common for the government not to respect court orders or decisions, and yet the same government wanted citizens to take it seriously.
"The department is not taking the education of our children very serious, particularly that of the poorest of the poor, who continue to be marginalised."
Bodlani said it was apparent the department did not have a proper plan in place for pupils either.
"Calls by the DA for the Limpopo education MEC to provide us with credible timetables and learning schedules for this plan have been met with silence," he said.