SECTION27 is a public interest law centre that seeks to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights. Our name is drawn from the section in the South African Constitution which enshrines everyone's right to health care, food, water and social security.
Yesterday SECTION27 received the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) progress report on the implementation of the catch-up plan (this and the catch-up plan are attached). While we are still studying and seeking expert input on the catch-up plan, we believe that it is inadequate and a clear violation of both the 17 May order of court and the settlement agreement between SECTION27 and the DBE which was made an order of court on 26 June.
SECTION27 has noted various unfortunate statements on the text book crisis in Limpopo as well as attack on the legal action of SECTION27 and comments by COSATU General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi. Below we set out the facts about how this crisis has unfolded in the last seven months.
We believe there has been a collective failure of many organisations that represent the poor, including COSATU, SADTU, the churches, the ANC, school governing bodies, and civil society in allowing an educational crisis, such as that in Limpopo (and other parts of the country) to develop over months and years.
The most important lesson of the Limpopo text book crisis is a reminder of the need for ongoing monitoring and action to protect and advance the rights of the poor and vulnerable in South Africa, in this case learners.
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) and SECTION27 published the report compiled by Professor Mary Metcalfe and her team following their investigation to verify the state of the delivery of textbooks to schools serving Grade 1-3 and Grade 10 learners in Limpopo Province.
We have accepted the findings and recommendations of Professor Metcalfe, which we set out in the report.