By claiming ONLY NOW that schools are yet to receive their textbooks following the provincial party and SADTU delegation’s visit to some schools in the Western Cape (God knows when?), should I be suspicious of Marius Fransman’s claim and allegations against the DA in that province, too, failed to deliver textbooks to some schools http://bit.ly/M2rmvj?
Could it be that the ANC’s only doing this because of DA’s criticism of the ruling party in Limpopo over the past three weeks following its #LimpopoTextbooksaga?
Fransman, ANC Western Cape Leader and also deputy minister for international relations and cooperation, claimed how he, in conjunction with South African Teachers’ Union (SADTU), were “disappointed and shocked” to find that many black learners in province had still not received textbooks halfway through the year.
He said a delegation to three schools on 5 July in the Kraaifontein discovered that about 1 551 learners in the critical foundation phase of learning to read, write had still not received their textbooks. He said either the books were “too little are available”, adding that in one classroom, it was “only 14 of 50 learners [who had received] books”.
Fransman spoke of how DA was “again stripped naked and debunked as a hypocritical double standard party”. He accused the opposition party of “cheap political point scoring, [of] shouts foul to the high heavens about shortages of school books” following its march to the Limpopo provincial education about two weeks ago.
He asked what DA’s Donald Grant had done to rectify the failure to deliver textbooks to Western Cape schools six months into the new academic year, why he had not reported the “huge shortage of textbooks” in a number of schools and what he has now done to ensure the delivery of books resumed after a contractor allegedly failed to complete the task it was paid for in advance.
But Western Cape Minister of Education Donald Grant denied this as “completely false”. Grant said the schools visited by Fransman and SADTU had (as at 5 July) received books to the value of more than R1.2 million.
He said these very same schools had reported to the Western Cape Education Department that they had received the ordered and required textbooks (emphasis added).
Fransman’s allegations, said Grant, were a clear “political ploy to divert the attention of the media and the public away from the ANC’s failure to deliver textbooks in Limpopo”. “This failure in Limpopo is tantamount to denying a crucial element of the constitutional right of the children of Limpopo to an education.”
Grant said from 6 July his department would publish details the of the schools Fransman et al claimed had not received textbooks. At the time of writing I had not check if this had been published as promised.
One can’t help but think Fransman is doing exactly what the DA had done in Limpopo although at least DA’s (in my view) was not meant to score political point as it now seems to be the case with Fransman’s following the ANC-led government’s failure in that province to deliver textbooks to many (black) schools.
This follows a court order in May this year which directed Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, taken by non-governmental organisation, Section27, to deliver textbooks.
Seeing that she would not meet the court order’s deadline, both Motshekga and Section27 reached an agreement to extend the deadline which, too, the minister failed to meet over the last two/three weeks. This was made worse by reports that some old textbooks that are no longer part of the new curriculum were dumped and destroyed.
Reports emerged that other textbooks were dumped along the road while others were allegedly dump in a damn in Giyani, Limpopo. Motshekga denied the dumped textbooks were part of the court order. But the minister insisted that all those that will be found as the culprits that dumped the textbooks should be arrested, insisting that this (the dumping of textbooks) was not a “sabotage” but also smacked of criminality.
By claim that just because DA’s running the Western Cape alone yet allegedly failed to deliver textbooks, it is not clear whether Fransman is justifying the ruling ANC’s failure specifically in Limpopo to deliver textbooks even after a court had been issued to that effect.
Fransman has now threatened to ask the founded Western Cape provincial education crisis committee Save Our Schools to investigate this matter and report to the Presidential Task Team appointed to investigate the shortage of books last week by President Jacob Zuma. He said “innocent poor black children” cannot “bite the bullet for Grant’s weak leadership, his failures to manage his portfolio in the best interest of the vulnerable and lack of commitment to improve the lives of the marginalised”.
He accused Grant (and DA Western Cape) of perpetuating the “perception that the DA does not care for poor and ordinary people and is satisfied with inferior service delivery to townships and informal settlements”.
Reacting to Fransman, DA’s Western Cape Leader, Theuns Botha has accused the former of “cheap politics”, that his “dishonest and dangerous scheming… [was] sickening”.
Botha denied Fransman’s allegations, saying the provincial government has a “sophisticated textbook online ordering system in the country”, adding that it also has an “excellent track record of delivering books to schools on time”. He said the ANC’s provincial leader allegations were “untrue, deceitful and [were]nothing less than artificial grandstanding”, further accusing Fransman as a “political liar” not suitable for public office.
Botha said Fransman’s dishonesty and lies (my emphasis) were “unsuccessful attempts” to regain power in Western Cape which he said were “nothing short of transparent and pathetic”. “It is time that the ANC in the Western Cape starts spending less time, energy and resources on misinformation, fomenting unrest and violence and attempting to destabilise communities and start focussing on becoming an honest roleplayer in the ongoing development of this province.”
But Fransman is having none of Grant’s assurance that all schools had received their books, including those in the Kraaifontein area. “He [Grant] should be fired for this scandal”, he said.
Of course this is not an attempt to shield DA and Grant from criticism. If they are wrong, they should also be subjected to the same scrutiny as Limpopo.
But I am very suspicious of Fransman’s harsh criticism of Grant and DA, and the timing thereof, given the fact that since the beginning of the year – it was only last week (how said for a party claiming to be the majority’s representative) that he came to know of the Western Cape’s own textbook sage when Limpopo’s had been known and in the news since last year.
Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.