Presidential Task Team Report Must Be Made Public

Annette Lovemore MP

DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education

It has been more than a month since the Presidency has received the report of the Presidential Task Team established to investigate the Limpopo textbook crisis. We also have yet to see the report or any action from the President to hold those responsible for the crisis to account.

I have written to the Presidency to request that the report of the presidential task team be made public and that it should be tabled for discussion in the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education.

President Zuma announced the appointment of a task team to investigate the Limpopo textbook crisis on 04 July 2012.

The terms of reference specified that the task team will look into:

* the role of the provincial and national department in the ordering and distribution of textbooks;

* the causes of the non-delivery and or delays in delivering;

* whether there are plans in place to assist the affected learners to catch-up with their academic programmes; and

* the Department of Basic Education’s plan for the procurement of textbooks for the 2013 academic year.

The President directed that “all who are found to have played a role in delaying or stopping the delivery of books should be held accountable and face the consequences”.

The President reportedly received the report on 06 August 2012 – at which time Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said that the President was studying the report and would decide on the course of action.

In a parliamentary oral question session on 29 August 2012, from which Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga was conspicuously absent, the Deputy Minister of Basic Education confirmed that the President had received the report.

The DBE is also currently in contempt of an Eastern Cape High Court order to fill teacher vacancies.

If the President does not intend to hold his executive to account or ensure that underperforming officials are removed from the system, it is no wonder that the Department of Basic Education continues to be in contempt of court orders with impunity.

If the President is serious about accountability, the rhetoric must end and action must begin. The President must be transparent and not shield his loyal cadres regardless of his precarious position in the run-up to Mangaung.

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