The Department of Basic Education has strongly rejected reports that some schools in Limpopo had not received textbooks. The department has provided proof that the schools mentioned in the media reports have indeed received textbooks just like all other schools in the province.
The department had a water tight system that ensured all schools received the required number of books as per the data supplied by the provincial department.
The 2013 procurement and delivery of the CAPS-aligned textbooks for schools in Limpopo Department of Basic Education (LDoE) for Grades four, five, six and 11 had to ensure that the right number of text books, in the right languages, for all the learners were delivered at the right time.
At least three favourably reduced quotations per textbook per subject per language were shortlisted. With considerable cost savings gained, orders were placed with all identified publishers on 7 September 2012. Orders were based on the data received from the senior manager of EMIS in LDoE and not on school based ordering of textbooks.
The data for grades four to six and 11 was provided by the LDOE to the service provider for delivery on 20th October 2012. Subsequently, a second set of signed off data was provided on 16 November to be used to inform the delivery of textbooks to Limpopo schools.
Finalisation of the procurement process of the delivery agent (UTI) for the fine distribution of textbooks to all public schools in Limpopo was completed on 16 October 2012. The existing infrastructure of the central warehouse, staff and equipment of the LDoE was retained and incorporated into the UTI business processes for delivery. An additional warehouse in close proximity of the central warehouse was procured to accommodate receipting and bulk storage of stock.
The complete delivery of textbooks in each school in accordance with the exact learner numbers per grade per subject and language provided by the province as well as the quantities specified for each school (with no deviation) was made to the door for all schools coincide.
Staff was provided with unique bar codes. The bar code is scanned together with the individual pick slip for each school. The system allows for the rate of picking for each school to be monitored and the correctness of consignments delivered to be traced back to the individual picker.
For the first time today the department is making available proof of delivery with signatures of recipients confirming receipt of their consignment of text books. This is evidence of what we have always been saying that textbooks had been supplied to schools and that the department was ready to start the school year of 2013.
Having said that; the department will commence the process of taking action against school principals who deliberately use political parties to discredit the department by spreading lies and misinformation.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has accused the department of keeping books in the warehouse. “Over stocking is good because when schools need books we go to warehouse and get the books as opposed to having to go to publishers to request books they may not have as it happened in 2012. If we keep stock, we are able to respond within 24 hours,” said Panyaza Lesufi, spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education.
Lesufi said the letter from Duiwelskloof Primary School principal was wrong, misleading and it plays politics. For the principal to claim that there are no books delivered in his school when he personally received and signed for the books is wrong. On 29 January, 2013 he wrote a letter saying books were not delivered when in fact less than two weeks earlier, on 15 January 2013 at 9h30am, he signed to confirm receipt of a consignment of textbooks for his school.
“It is for that reason that we will speak to the HR unit to advise on the action that may be taken against him,” Lesufi said.
We urge schools to report any shortages to the district offices like Hoër Ben Vorster has done (Annexure C). Shortages may arise due to extra learners having registered late after orders had been placed for a particular school. Those principals who choose to approach political parties instead of the department will be dealt with in terms of the internal disciplinary processes.
We thus call upon the DA to retract their allegations and apologise to the nation for spreading wrong information and misleading the country and discrediting the department and integrity of the Minister.