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The judgment of the Eastern Cape High Court, handed down on 3rd August 2012, is a groundbreaking vindication of the state’s duties to ensure children have a basic education.
SECTION27 salutes the Centre for Child Law, a number of School Governing Bodies from schools in the Eastern Cape and their legal team, the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), for this important victory for the rights of learners to learn and teachers to teach.
On Friday 3 August, the Eastern Cape High Court in Grahamstown ruled that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) is obliged to declare post establishments for both teaching and non-teaching staff for 2013 for public schools in the Eastern Cape.
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.
SECTION27 and the Department of Basic Education released the ‘verification report’ into the delivery of textbooks to learners in grades 1-3 and grade 10 in Limpopo Schools.We thank Professor Metcalfe and her team. Not only have they done a great amount of work in the last two weeks, but they have made a personal sacrifice out of a commitment to the right to basic education.
SECTION27’s intention is not to vilify any particular person. However, we maintain our position that once the National Executive (Cabinet) decided to intervene in Limpopo under s100(1)(b) of the Constitution they assumed, through the DBE, full responsibility for meeting minimum standards for the delivery of basic education services within the Province.