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‘Dumped’ textbooks not for NC

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“Our preliminary investigation indicated that this was a consignment from Cape Town to Midrand in Gauteng, according to the delivery note.”

THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Education has denied that textbooks meant for provincial schools were dumped at a rubbish site in Colesberg.

The DA’s spokesperson for education, Priscilla Isaacs, claimed that a treasure trove of textbooks, schoolbooks and teacher guides had been dumped at the Colesburg Municipal dumping site.

Spokesperson for the department, Geoffrey van der Merwe, said yesterday, however, that the textbooks found at the Colesberg Municipal dumping site were not intended for any school in the Northern Cape.

“Our preliminary investigation indicated that this was a consignment from Cape Town to Midrand in Gauteng, according to the delivery note.”

Van der Merwe added that the circumstances regarding the disposal of the damaged freight were not yet known, as the Northern Cape Department of Education was not implicated.

“However, we must indicate that we are not happy in the manner in which this was dealt with by the Democratic Alliance. We are of the view that this matter could have been processed much quicker and effectively if it was reported to the relevant authorities,” Van der Merwe stated.

“Education is a societal matter, and we expect all members of society, despite the political affiliations, to act in the best interests of education.”

According to the statement issued by the DA, a Umsobomvu Local Municipality councillor, Johan Mattee, was alerted to the suspected dumping of school books. “Upon investigation, he found a treasure trove of textbooks, school books, and teacher guides at the municipal dumping site in Colesberg.”

The books included current textbooks prescribed for grade 5 to grade 11 and intended for use in critical subjects such as Mathematics, Physical Science, Afrikaans, English, and Accounting.

“Some of the dumped books are still wrapped in plastic in bundles of ten per packet,” Isaacs said.

She pointed out further that almost 50% of schools in the Northern Cape were underperforming.

“A shortage of handbooks is quoted as one of the main contributory factors for the underperformance. Year in and year out, schools complain that deliveries of LTSM are made late or that they do not receive the necessary number of books.”

The party also expressed concern about the financial ramifications and the monetary value of these wasted books.

“It is not uncommon that parents are required to send up to four reams of paper to school with their children so that photocopies can be made of books which are ‘delivered’ to the dump instead of the school.

“Like many other areas in the country, parents in the area live in impoverished communities who cannot afford to pay for the mistakes made by an indifferent government.

“Financial pressures like these can compel children from poorer households to drop out of school before completing their education and further limit their potential for future employment or studies.

“As it is, nearly 37% of the people in Umsobomvu have not completed their secondary schooling while 14% have not completed their primary education and a further 10% have no schooling at all. We cannot afford to keep children trapped in a cycle of limitation and deprivation,” Isaacs said.