SECTION27’S RESPONSE TO ADVERTISEMENTS BY DEPARTMENT OF BASIC EDUCATION INDICATING THAT TEXTBOOK LITIGATION “UNNECESSARY”
8 October 2012
SECTION27 has read the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) “Response to the order of the North Gauteng High Court delivered on 4 October 2012 on the matter between SECTION27 et al and the Minister of Basic Education et al”, dated 5 October 2012 and published in several weekend newspapers.
SECTION27 will not engage in a back-and-forth exchange with the DBE through the media. SECTION27 will not comment on the probity and ethics of the advert. We are compelled to put out this statement as a result of numerous requests for comment on the advert.
We wish to correct the accuracy of certain facts stated by the DBE:
The perceived non-delivery of Grade 10 textbooks” and the “so-called failure of the Department to meet the delivery targets”: the DBE has conceded that as late as September 2012, delivery of textbooks was still incomplete. It is for this reason that the North Gauteng High Court granted a third court order imposing a new deadline for complete delivery.
“The Court did not attribute fault to the Department for the incomplete nature of the delivery of books to Limpopo. The Court indeed accepted that it was not the fault of the Department”: the Court did not state that there was no fault on the part of the DBE. Kollapen J expressly made no finding as to fault. In this regard the court order states that “the court notes the justification for non-compliance offered by the [DBE] but makes no finding with regard to it given that these are not contempt proceedings”.
“We call on all members of society, including SECTION27 and its allies, to work with the Department, rather than against it”: prior to the most recent court application, SECTION 27 addressed four letters to the DBE requesting information regarding textbook delivery and the catch-up plan. SECTION27 and a number of other civil society organisations have also addressed two letters to the Minister and the Director-General in the DBE requesting to meet to discuss our serious concerns about basic education. We have never received responses to any of these requests.
“It is expected that all deliveries of CAPS-aligned textbooks will have taken place by 15 December 2012 for Grades 4, 5, 6 and 11”: the court order requires these textbooks to be delivered by 15 December 2013. In addition, the DBE is required to file an affidavit with the North Gauteng High Court on 31 October 2012 and again on 15 December 2012. To the extent that textbooks have not all been delivered on 15 December 2012, the DBE is required to furnish the Court with an affidavit detailing the steps that will be taken to ensure complete delivery before the commencement of the 2013 academic year.
SECTION27’s only interest is in the delivery of quality basic education for all learners.
We wish to make no further public comment on this issue.