Education Department in Spat with Human Rights Commission

Department told to deliver textbooks and stationery.

The Department of Basic Education is embroiled in a spat with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), which has criticised the department’s failure to deliver stationery and textbooks in Limpopo.


Angie Motshekga

In the statement released on Friday, the SAHRC gave Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga until Thursday to provide “a formal undertaking” confirming the delivery of the outstanding textbooks and stationery. It gave the Limpopo Department of Education until today to fulfil the deliveries.

Last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a 2012 High Court order which found that failure to deliver textbooks and other learning materials is a violation of the right to basic education of the affected learners.

But the Department, in a statement this week, expressed its disappointment at the “lack of factual correctness or other crucial information” in the SAHRC’s statement. It acknowledged the delays related to stationery but said the textbooks had not been delivered because previous learners had not returned theirs.

“It came as a shock to read via the media that the Minister had been given a deadline to make an undertaking about a task which the province was already handling.”

The Department has urged the Commission to instead assist in spreading the message that it is important to return textbooks.

The Commission says it plans to take legal action against the national and provincial departments of Basic Education if the textbooks are not delivered by the end of the week.

Barbara Maregele
is a journalist at GroundUp.

This article appeared in on 23 January 2017


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