Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has expressed shock at the non-delivery of textbooks to Limpopo learners. This is in contravention of a court order, which set down 15 June as the deadline for delivery.
Given that the national department of education has assumed control of the Limpopo provincial education department, the Minister is the person ultimately responsible for ensuring that these books are delivered to learners, on time.
Her reaction is inexcusable.
I will be writing to the Minister to request that she appoints an independent inquiry to investigate the Limpopo textbook crisis, which has continued despite the national government’s intervention. I will ask that Minister Motshekga consults with the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development with the view to appointing a retired judge to head the inquiry.
The inquiry’s investigation must look into matters such as:
Why the textbooks were not delivered on time to Limpopo learners;
Who was responsible for managing this process; and
Whether the correct processes were followed in the awarding of tenders to those companies responsible for distributing the textbooks.
The inquiry must also investigate the department’s failure to comply with the court order to have all textbooks delivered to Limpopo learners by Friday 15 June.
In addition, I will be writing to the Chair of the Basic Education Portfolio Committee to request that the committee conducts an urgent oversight visit to Limpopo to make a full assessment of the situation, and government’s response.
It is essential that those responsible for the education crisis facing Limpopo learners are held accountable- the Minister included.
It is disappointing that this morning’s planned media briefing by the Human Development Cluster, which Minister Motshekga chairs, was cancelled at short notice.
This was an important opportunity for the Minister to provide much-needed answers to how she has allowed the education crisis in Limpopo to spin even further out of control.
The fact that the Minister was unaware that textbooks had not been delivered as per the court order is a clear indication that she is not taking the education of our children seriously.
That her Department has to call on opposition parties to determine which schools remain without textbooks is further proof of this. It sends a powerful message that the people of Limpopo cannot trust the Minister or this government to deliver the most basic services to the South African public.