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Shopsteward Volume 26 No. 2

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  |  COSATU Press Statements

NW Department of Education saga

9 August 2012 The Congress of South African Trade Unions and its affiliates are highly disappointed by the attitude of the Department of Education on the matter of books not being delivered to the schools after 8 months since the beginning of 2012.

It is on record that the department has no interest in our poor learners in the province and the interests of our working class who have no capital to buy books for their children.

In 2012 COSATU adopted a program of adopting schools, jointly with the politicians, officials and the SGBs. We visited some of those schools, including the PIC-PAU schools which are most disadvantaged, including not having water, toilets, sanitation and other school equipment. During our second visit as part of monitoring, the officials of the department reported that all books are delivered. At no stage were we told that books will not be delivered due to new system that the dept wants to bring to the schools.

In 2007 the federation started with our campaign for learner transport, getting books into the farms and merging the farm schools which disadvantage our poor farm learners who still face challenges of transport, shortage of books, shortage of class room furniture. At the worst in some schools like Moed Will boarding school children have no beds, no food, or school materials. The school has gone from bad to terrible.

The books saga in Limpopo is caused by people who left NW province due to corruption, so we are not surprised that the matter is now coming up again in the NW after so many years. The NW dept of education knew about this matter; that is why they were working so hard to make sure that the case of corruption against the former PA to the former head of the department who is currently on bail be dropped.

The same case led to the arrest of the former MEC, the former HOD who is respected by the current minister of education who is facing attacks on the book saga in Limpopo and the suspended HOD. They are all on bail due to corruption in the NW dept of education.

We have warned the national department from the beginning that we are requesting: please do not employ people who are under investigation in particular for corrupt activities. This is the results of an attitude of “I have political power to appoint the person I want as the political head regardless of criminals record or corrupt activities”.

The enemy of the department of education is within their own department - employing people who have no skills, no qualification, people who are friends or wives - so that they can continue with their agenda of destroying our 18 years democracy with nepotism and corruption.

Our poor farm learners are still trapped on the streets with no transport, trapped in the class rooms with no books, trapped under the trees with buildings. What happened to the budget that was allocated to those schools, when transport owners are not paid? What happened to their money?

COSATU NW will be joining its affiliate SADTU on 16 August 2012 marching to the legislature, demanding a full detailed report on these matters and that our provincial government, in particular the premier, must investigate who has been given a tender to provide books in the NW. It is alleged that the company awarded tender for the NW books is based in Durban.

We are calling government of the NW to take action now, not tomorrow, on those who are implicated on the books saga in the NW.

We calling the department of education not to blame educators for poor results at the end of the year; government must take that responsibility for the poor results, not learners, not educators.

The attitude of government not wanting to respond on public on this matter clearly tells the people of the NW that you can do what you want.

We will call on government and the NPA to speed up on the current corruption case against the former MEC, the two HODs and many others who are implicated on this case. Corruption is still going on the department of education.

We call on the NW department of education to provide books to those learners now. Nepotism must be stopped and those who are implicated must be dealt with now. Government must stop intimidating our members, in particular those who exposed corruption and nepotism.

We will be there as the federation with our members giving solidarity support to our union SADTU to fight corruption and to defend our democracy.

For more information feel free to call COSATU NW Provincial Secretary, Solly Phetoe [0823044055]