DA issues challenge to ANC on textbook delivery
Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance
1 August 2012
This is an extract of a speech that was made by the DA’s Parliamentary Leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko MP, at a DA Jobs Campaign rally in Polokwane earlier today.
Today I would like to issue a five-point challenge to the ANC to match the DA government’s record of textbook delivery in the Western Cape.
Here in Limpopo, our estimates from school monitoring show that around half of school children are without textbooks with less than half the school year to go. In Mpumalanga even the Premier concedes that there are massive book shortages, while in the Eastern Cape teachers are forced to make do with photo-copied material.
We have to make sure that this never happens again anywhere our country. Next year, let no child go without the textbooks they need to make a success of their studies.
In the Western Cape, every learner receives a textbook for every core subject in their grade. In addition, the DA provincial government has put in place a R466 million four-year plan to buy additional books above and beyond what the national government will fund.
If the ANC wants to improve the quality of basic education where it governs it will take up the DA’s five point challenge below:
- A textbook for every child for every core subject in their grade. The DA already delivers this in the Western Cape. We challenge the ANC to guarantee it can meet this minimum requirement in the new school year and beyond.
- Deliver all textbooks before the school year starts. In the Western Cape, all textbooks are delivered towards the end of the school year in time for the new year. In ANC-governed provinces like Limpopo, it took a court order halfway through this school year to force the government to even start ordering books for 2012.
- Eliminate corruption in the procurement of textbooks. The Western Cape government is pioneering an online ordering system for textbooks that records all transactions and eliminates corruption. In Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga ANC governments paid EduSolutions to deliver to schools despite the state’s own legal opinion that the contracts are unlawful. These contracts are currently the subject of investigations by the Public Protector.
- Order the right books for the right learners. Where the DA governs, schools have the freedom to place their own orders for textbooks from an approved catalogue. This allows teachers to choose the right books for their learners depending on the learning context. Other provincial departments buy books based on the lowest price and availability and not on the needs of schools. Perhaps this explains why isiXhosa-speaking learners in the Eastern Cape receive books in Sesotho and blind learners in Limpopo get books designed for the sighted.
- Match the DA’s textbook funding allocation. In the Western Cape, an additional R466 million has been budgeted over the next four years for textbooks. In ANC-governed provinces like Mpumalanga, the MEC admitted in her budget speech that the Education Department cannot even afford to address the textbook shortages, let alone buy additional books.
When you compare the DA and ANC’s performance in educating our children, it is obvious which party cares more about the future of country. We understand that job opportunities are linked to education opportunities. Nobody can escape poverty without a good education.
If you want your children to receive the right textbooks in time for the school year, you have a choice to make at the next election.
You can vote for five more years of excuses, goal post shifting, corrupt tenders and incompetence.
Or you can choose a party that makes sure that every child gets the books they need to succeed at school.
We call on all ANC-governed provinces to rise to our challenge and match the DA’s textbook delivery record. It is what the citizens of South Africa deserve.