26 February 2013

South Africa: Basic Education Department Admits Shortage of 42 000 Textbooks

Photo: SAnews.gov.za
Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga (left)

press release

After having accused the DA of spreading incorrect information and misleading the country, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga in a briefing today admitted that there are 42 000 textbooks outstanding in Limpopo.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) on 11 February rejected reports that schools in Limpopo had not received textbooks, threatened school officials that reported shortages and called for the DA to apologise to the nation for discrediting the Government.

It is clear that the DBE owes the learners of Limpopo and the nation an apology - yet again.

The Basic Education Portfolio Committee today requested that the DBE submit a report on the Limpopo textbook shortages and appear before the Committee on Tuesday, 5 February after the DA and IFP raised the matter to the Committee Chairperson.

The DA welcomes this overdue call for the Department to account for textbook shortages in Limpopo; a matter raised by the DA in January following its monitoring of textbook shortages in the province.

On 15 January 2012 the DA similarly demanded urgent intervention by the DBE in Limpopo after an investigation revealed that a textbook crisis was imminent. That call was ignored and learners went for over half a year without textbooks.

This cannot be allowed to happen again.

The DBE stated today that they have procured 60 000 textbooks to cover the shortfall and that they have commissioned StatsSA to provide accurate data on learner numbers to ensure that ordering challenges would not be repeated.

The DA will interrogate the progress of the textbook delivery when the DBE briefs the Committee next week and will continue to monitor these commitments. We will also use every parliamentary mechanism available to actively safeguard learners' rights to a basic education.

All necessary steps must be taken to ensure that mechanisms are in place to effectively and efficiently deliver textbooks to all learners. The education of our children simply cannot be compromised any further

Annette Lovemore, Shadow Minister of Basic Education

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