Wednesday, 8th February 2017
The Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission (the Commission), Advocate Bongani Majola and the Commissioner responsible for Basic Education, Advocate Andre Gaum, met with the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angelina Motshekga, the Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Mr Enver Surty and Limpopo Province’s Education MEC, Ishmael Kgetjepe, this week, in Pretoria, to discuss the delivery of textbooks and stationery in the affected province.
The Commission welcomed the engagement with the Department. “Engagements such as these are essential in ensuring the equitable and efficient delivery to the right to basic education as set out in section 29 of the Constitution,” said Commissioner Gaum.
The Commission and the Department of Basic Education agreed that continued future engagements on pertinent issues related to education are necessary for full realisation of the right to access a basic education.
“Whilst appreciative of the challenges experienced by the Department of Basic Education in Limpopo Province in delivering textbooks and stationery, it is important to stress the on-time delivery of these basic learning materials,” said Commissioner Gaum.
“The Department of Basic Education gave the Commission its undertaking that all outstanding stationery would be delivered by Wednesday, the 15th February 2017. Compliance with this deadline for delivery will be closely monitored by the Commission,” said Commissioner Gaum.
Minister Motshekga stated that she accepts that the Commission should monitor her Department and point out where it is lacking. A joint commitment was reached in the meeting, that officials of the Department of Basic Education and the Commission should meet again, in the not too distant future, to engage further on other pertinent related issues that were identified such as water and sanitation, teacher – learner ratios and provision of learning aids for the learners living with disabilities.
Both the Commission and the Department of Basic Education indicated their commitment to the interests of the learner, with the understanding that learners should be supplied with learning materials in a timely manner by the Department and that it remains the Commission’s duty to monitor and demand that this be done.
A direct communication channel has been established between Victor Mavhidula, the Commission’s Provincial Manager in Limpopo and the Limpopo Department of Basic Education’s Acting Head of Department, Ms Ndiambani Beauty Mutheiwana, to ensure that textbook top-up deliveries are concluded expeditiously. In this regard, the Commission’s provincial office in Limpopo will monitor delivery by conducting sample checks in schools across the Province.
In its engagement with the Department of Basic Education, the Commission highlighted that its latest update report on the schools sampled, indicates gaps in textbook delivery, including to special needs schools, and that it expects of the Limpopo Department of Basic Education to rectify the situation without any further delay. A report to this effect will be provided by the Limpopo Department of Basic of Education without delay.
Given the desire expressed by Minister Motshekga to meet with the Commission to resolve the delay in textbook and stationery delivery amicably, the Commission undertakes to continue its close monitoring of the situation, but has cautioned that the situation has to be arrested urgently.
Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission