LIMPOPO Education MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe admitted that he had disappointed the nation because of the late delivery of textbooks to schools around the province.
“We have made a commitment to deliver the stationeries before the schools open but we are late in delivering those stationeries. We have let down the sector and we have our own processes to do but that is not justifiable enough not to deliver the stationery” said Kgetjepe.
He was speaking to the media after hundreds of people under the banner of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) took to the streets in Polokwane in demand for the speedy delivery of textbooks to almost 4000 schools in the province.
Cosatu has pointed a finger at Kgetjepe and senior officials for the mess around textbook delivery.
Hundreds of people including teachers marched to department of education, treasury and the premiers’ office to hand over a memorandum on late delivery of stationery at schools.
The non-payment to temporary teachers and non-renewal of their contracts temporary, and lack of infrastructure development at schools were among the grievances of the marchers.
Addressing the marchers, SADTU provincial deputy secretary Suwell Tjebane said: “We do this as a reminder of your constitutional and legal obligations to ensure that the rights of children are promoted, protected and fulfilled. We demand the department’s full compliance of their legal obligation to improve the educational sector.”
“As Cosatu we hold a strong view that the challenges faced by the department of education have been violating human rights and these challenges must be attended urgently. We urge you to provide the leadership required to provide a different analysis to turn the situation around.”
Both the departments and the premiers’ office are given 7 days to respond to the memorandum, and 14 days to have positively dealt with the crisis. The federation expressed that, if the demands are not met within the required period all services in the province will be shut down.
In response, the premier of Limpopo Stanley Mathabatha said the issues highlighted in the memorandum will immediately be dealt with.
“We are going to attend to it immediately. We have already convened a meeting with the department of treasury, public works and the department of education including all other officials responsible for the issues raised.” Mathabatha said.