Desiree van der Walt MPL
DA Limpopo Education spokesperson
It is now exactly over a month since the Democratic Alliance has launched an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act to have the provincial education department release its policy directives on shredding textbooks. We have had no response from the department.
By way of a background to matter, the DA laid criminal charges of damage to property after we found textbooks in good conditions being shredded near Seshego. The people who were doing the shredding claimed that they acting on the Department’s instructions, ostensibly under a policy directive.
We cannot escape the conclusion that either the Department does not fully understand the principles of openness which underpins our democratic dispensation or they simply gave instructions to shred the books without any authority.
The PAIA legislation is clear that the public must have access to records held by government. In this specific context, the DA needs these records for a legal process, so in fact the department’s attitude amounts to a disdain of our legal process.
We will be left with no other option but to approach( this Friday 7 September 2012) the South African Human Rights Commission to lodge our complaint against the Department.