8 November 2012

South Africa: Limpopo Textbooks - President Zuma Ignores Recommendations of His Own Task Team

press release

A reply to a DA parliamentary question received from the Presidency yesterday confirms that President Jacob Zuma has ignored key recommendations from the task team that he appointed to investigate the textbook crisis in Limpopo.

The inter-ministerial task team report released by the Presidency on 5 October made a number of practical recommendations to avoid a repeat of the textbook crisis, including how to hold those responsible for the textbook crisis to account.

The task team recommended that President Zuma should direct the Public Service Commission (PSC) to investigate the following role-players:

• The Director-General of the Department of Basic Education (DBE), Bobby Soobrayan, in contributing to the delay of textbook ordering and delivery.

• The Head of Department and the Chief Financial Officer of the Limpopo Department of Education (LDoE) for contravening supply management principles and failing to fulfil their responsibilities.

• The Head of Department of the Limpopo Treasury for alleged non-compliance with supply chain management procedures and the Public Finance Management Act.

Despite the President loftily proclaiming that "all who are found to have played a role in delaying or stopping the delivery of books should be held accountable and face the consequences," he ignored the majority of the accountability recommendations.

Instead he chose to focus on identifying a scapegoat, namely the Director-General of the DBE, whilst not directing investigations into any of the other implicated culprits.

No actions have been taken against any political office bearers despite these appointees having the final responsibility for the failings.

Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, failed to comply with two court orders directing her to ensure textbook delivery and the task team found that the office of Cassel Mathale, Premier of Limpopo, "failed in its legal and political mandate, to monitor and oversee the planning, budgeting and implementation of programmes of departments."

I will be submitting parliamentary questions to the Presidency requesting President Zuma to explain why he is not holding those responsible to book.

If the President does not hold those responsible for the crisis in our education system to account and ensure that underperforming officials are removed, we will never efficiently and effectively alleviate the on-going problems of service delivery in the education sector.

Annette Lovemore, Shadow Minister of Basic Education

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