4 July 2012

South Africa: Limpopo Textbook Commissions - Forget Politics and Ask the Right Questions

press release

Task teams established to investigate the textbook crisis in Limpopo must identify the root causes of the debacle and should not be allowed to degenerate into an exercise of blame shifting to save political face.

The President announced yesterday that he will establish a task team to investigate the crisis, and reports have also emerged that the Limpopo Provincial Cabinet, led by Premier Cassel Mathale, has resolved to form its own task team to look into the textbook saga.

The DA welcomes any investigations into this crisis. The inquiries must ensure accountability for wrongdoing, and all parties need to learn from the mistakes that were made so that they are never repeated again.

It is therefore imperative that the terms of reference for the investigations are clear.

We believe that the terms of reference for the commissions should include the following:

A full investigation into the awarding of all education tenders in Limpopo, including EduSolutions and Lebone; a full investigation of the allegations of impropriety connected to the tender process, pricing and roll-out; establishing the responsibilities and mandates of various officials and contractors at different stages of the process, including the ordering process; outlining clear sanctions for those found guilty of wrongdoing; an analysis of the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of outsourcing the ordering, delivering and monitoring of textbooks to third parties; and investigating technological interventions that can be pro-actively adopted to improve service delivery, such as the online ordering system used by the Western Cape Department of Education.

A thorough and credible investigation must be conducted soon to ensure that textbooks are delivered on schedule for the 2013 academic year.

I will be writing to the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, Hope Malgas, to request that the terms of reference for the investigations into the Limpopo textbook crisis be tabled at the committee and that regular feedback is received on progress with the investigations.

Never again can we allow administrative deficiencies and ineffective roll-out to infringe on the basic rights of our children.

Annette Lovemore, Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education

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