President meets the Minister of Basic Education on the Limpopo textbooks situation
3 Jul 2012President Jacob Zuma today, 3 July 2012, received a briefing from the Minister of Basic Education, Ms Angie Motshekga, accompanied by Deputy Minister Enver Surty, on the situation regarding the delivery of textbooks in Limpopo schools.
The situation has taken place against the background of the Section 100 (1)(b) of the Constitution intervention in Limpopo by the national government on the following Limpopo line function departments:
(b) Roads and Transport;
(d) Public Works; and
(e) Provincial Treasury.
When Section 100(1) (b) intervention was introduced, as stated above, Limpopo had serious cash flow problems, which had serious ramifications for key basic education deliverables, such as the procurement and delivery of textbooks.
This effectively meant that there was no budget allocation to fill vacant posts or for the procurement and the delivery of textbooks for the 2012 school calendar year, which under normal circumstances should have been catered for within the 2011/12 budget allocation, as a result of poor financial and human resource management and planning.
Minister Motshekga explained to the President that it was only in May that orders for textbooks could be placed with the publishers. Around 28 April 2012, incorrect orders were placed with publishers which process was later rectified by the intervention of the national department. This was preceded by the nullification of the contract with a service provider contracted by the Limpopo Department of Education to procure and deliver textbooks to Limpopo schools.
The Minister has apologised unequivocally for the delays on delivery of the text books to grades 1 to 3 and 10. However, the Minister stated that it is incorrect to suggest that no textbooks were delivered and no learning took place.
She explained that workbooks for grades 1 to 9 in literacy and numeracy had been delivered on time as part of its national effort to promote and enhance literacy and numeracy in all official languages.
This in effect meant that every grade 1 to 3 learner in Limpopo was in possession of workbooks. In addition, readers of the previous year and other resource materials could be used as teachers were trained on where there was a deviation from the previous syllabus. With regard to grades 10, all learners received a textbook on mathematics and science on time.
The deviations in the other subjects were brought to the attention of educators in the training sessions last year and older text books could therefore be used for teaching. This did not however detract from the responsibility of the provincial sphere of government to deliver new books on time, hence the intervention by the national government.
President Zuma emphasized to the Minister that it was unacceptable for service providers or officials to destroy limited and precious education resources like books. The President appreciated the fact that the Minister has instructed the department to take action against the perpetrators.
Government concedes that there are many lessons to be learned from the Limpopo experience especially relating to how to manage constitutional interventions by national government in provincial departments.
Intergovernmental relations across the spheres of government, especially where there are concurrent competences make matter very complex. Currently there is no national legislation regulating interventions in terms of section 100. Chapter 13 of the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003, regulates all interventions in terms of section 139 where the cause of the intervention is of a financial nature. There is no legislation contemplated in section 139(8) of the Constitution, to regulate interventions arising from other causes.
To remedy the situation, Government has introduced the Monitoring, Support and Intervention Bill to fill this gap and to regulate interventions in terms of section 100 as well as all interventions in terms of section 139. Today, the President directed the Presidency and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to prioritise the finalization of this crucial legislation.
The President also directed that while the legislation is being finalised, a special protocol must be developed to manage relations between the spheres and ensure that service delivery is not affected.
The President also directed the Ministry to complete the current delivery process, and also to work with the National Treasury and the province to ensure that adequate resources are made available and planning is done for the timeous procurement and delivery of next year's textbooks in Limpopo.
A task team is to be established to investigate the circumstances around the textbook debacle. The President directed that there should be consequences for anyone found responsible for any wrongdoing that led to the delays.
The President also directed that there should be proper planning and resources ahead of all interventions in all departments.
"For example, the South African National Defence Force could have been used to deliver textbooks if there was proper coordination and planning''.
The President will meet all Ministers involved in the Limpopo intervention to review progress and prevent future problems around the intervention.
Cell: 079 879 3202
Issued by: The Presidency
3 Jul 2012
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