17 July 2012

South Africa: Motshekga Must Fire Officials Who Lied About Textbook Delivery

press release

Evidence suggests that the Department of Basic Education has misled the nation on its progress in delivering textbooks to Limpopo students.

It is time for Angie Motshekga to wield the axe and fire Director-General Bobby Soobrayan and his senior officials for distorting the truth about textbook delivery.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) said on 27 June 2012 (the second deadline for textbook delivery) that 95% of the textbooks had been delivered. The DA questioned this at the time based on our own survey of schools in Limpopo, which found that at least 129 schools had not received books.

On 28 June the DBE, in a joint statement with SECTION27, confirmed that it had sent a report indicating that: "99% of textbooks had been delivered to grade 10 learners and that all textbooks have been delivered to Grades 1, 2 and 3." On 29 June, DBE Spokesperson Hope Mokgathle was quoted saying: "We met our deadline last night and all the books have left the warehouse."

Yesterday, the Metcalfe report confirmed that only 15% of Limpopo schools had received their books by the deadline.

In a press conference yesterday the DBE maintained that the percentage of 98% textbook delivery provided on 28 June 2012 represented deliveries to warehouses, and not schools. The joint statement released yesterday stated that the "DBE maintains that the reports were only of dispatch to and from warehouses, and they did not infer delivery to schools."

This is a blatant attempt to manipulate the truth.

The fact is that the Department - despite evidence to the contrary - tried to pretend that it had met the deadline of delivery to schools on 27 June. Now that it is abundantly clear that this was not the case, it is shifting the goalposts.

The settlement agreement reached between the DBE and SECTION27 on 21 June (which has also been made an order of court) clearly indicated that: "It was agreed: That all textbooks would be delivered to all schools by or on Wednesday 27th June. The DBE will provide SECTION27 with written updates of the progress of the delivery...".

The public are sick and tired of these mindgames. If Minister Motshekga is to restore any credibility in her leadership of the Basic Education department, she must do the right thing and fire the Director-General.

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