3 October 2012

Tomorrow, the North Gauteng High Court will hand down judgment on the application brought by SECTION27, Hanyani Thomo Secondary School and Lutandale Primary School, represented by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies.

Yesterday, the parties were in court for an application that arises from non-compliance by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Limpopo Department of Education (Provincial Department) with two previous court orders:

• A court order granted by Judge Kollapen 17 May 2012 ordered the DBE and the Provincial Department to deliver textbooks to schools across Limpopo by no later than 15 June 2012, and to put in place a catch-up plan for Grade 10 learners commencing on 15 June 2012.

• On 5 July 2012, a further court order was granted by Judge Kollapen confirming an undertaking by the DBE to complete textbook delivery by 27 June 2012 and to revise its catch-up plan to incorporate extra tuition for learners and content knowledge support for teachers.

The Limpopo Education Department conceded in court yesterday that it failed to deliver all textbooks by the stipulated deadline and therefore textbook delivery to schools across Limpopo remains incomplete.

Section27 executive director Mark Heywood said, “What we heard was an admission [from the department] that they have not complied with the court orders. There are at least 70,000 textbooks that are still waiting to be delivered”.
In an agreement reached yesterday, the DBE has undertaken to complete the delivery of textbooks for 2012 by 12 October 2012 and to deliver textbooks to all schools for 2013 by 15 December 2013.
While the parties were able to come to consensus on some issues, there are three issues on which the Court was asked to adjudicate and make an order:
• The Court was asked to make a declaratory order confirming that the DBE had failed to comply with the two court orders against it in relation to both textbook delivery and the catch-up plan;
• SECTION27 maintains that an independent verification of the state of delivery of textbooks is essential as part of the delivery process and to ensure the accuracy of progress reports on delivery; and
• SECTION27 also requested costs on a punitive scale to be awarded against the Minister of Basic Education, given the manner in which this litigation has been conducted by the DBE.
The parties differ on the extent to which the catch-up plan that is being implemented by the DBE complies with the two court orders, and the steps necessary in ensuring meaningful catch-up for Grade 10 learners.
Judge Kollapen will hand down judgment in the North Gauteng High Court tomorrow, 4 October 2012 at 9h30.

For further details please contact Mark Heywood on 083 634 8806 or Nikki Stein on 082 528 7232 or Nthabi Pooe on 076 612 7188.

Please be further advised that due to prior commitments, we will only be able to respond to media queries tomorrow between 12h30-14h00

MEDIA ADVISORY – Latest judgment on textbooks – 4 October 2012 Final