The Parliamentary Caucus of the African National Congress joins the multitude of concerned voices regarding the education situation in the Limpopo provincial government. It is indeed unacceptable that receipt and access of text books by the province's learners should be frustrated by such unnecessary delays. Those officials responsible for this situation must face disciplinary measures.
We are satisfied with the great efforts made by the department of basic education to arrest the situation by ensuring that not only do learners across the province receive these important learning materials, but are also assisted through a catch-up programme. The catch-up plan, which wll be developed by the department and SECTION27, will ensure that learners and teachers disadvantaged by this situation receive adequate assistance such as extra tuition and other interventions. The national education summit, which the department has proposed to convene in conjunction with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, will comprehensively tackle all educational challenges the country might be facing and emerge with concrete recommendations so that these challenges do not recur.
The appointment of Ms Mary Metcalfe should be welcomed, as it will ensure that the statistics regarding the distribution of learning materials in the province is independently verified. The department must be commended for its cooperation with SECTION27 and the court, which ensured that the interests of the children of Limpopo are put first throughout the whole situation.The cooperation with various stakeholders indeed shows that government is as serious and determined as all of us to see these matters resolved.
We will ensure that the parliamentary portfolio committee on basic education urgently conducts an oversight visit to Limpopo to amongst others, meet with all stakeholders regarding the situation and ensure that necessary interventions indeed take place.
The urgency of the education situation in Limpopo, which has a bearing on the future of thousands of our country's children, require strong and responsible leadership amongst all stakeholders and patriotic South Africans. The temptation by some to indulge in finger-pointing, condemnation and petty politicking when national challenges such as these arise does not contribute to the solution.
It is for this reason that we reject the planned DA march in Limpopo as opportunistic and unhelpful. It is regrettable that, while various stakeholders have joined hands in an effort to urgently normalize that province's education situation, the main opposition sees the situation as a great opportunity to score few political points. If indeed the DA cared about the education of children, it would not be closing 27 schools in the Western Cape. Rather than close the so-called "under- performing" schools as a means to doctor the province's matric pass rate, the DA should be assisting those schools attain better results.
The closure of schools in that province follows hot on the heels of ugly protests by community members over the shortage of class rooms and schools overcrowding in Grabouw in the Western Cape.
If indeed the DA cared about the education of children as it claims, it would be directing its energies to resolving these education problems facing its own province, rather than conduct a march in a province where problems are already receiving appropriate attention.