Limpopo Education Dept back in court

Government scrapped a R320 million tender with an educational supplier, leaving children without books.

Government scrapped a R320 million tender with an educational supplier, leaving children without books.

JOHANNESBURG - The company at the center of the Limpopo textbook crisis said on Thursday it was going to court to have its controversially awarded contract reinstated to ensure pupils received textbooks.

The government's intervention team in Limpopo scrapped a R320 million tender with Edusolutions, following claims it was illegal and invalid.

Limpopo school children were left without books, but human rights organisation Section27 won a court order forcing government to supply the books.

This week, however, the head of the intervention team Anis Karodia was fired, after just three months on the job.

"As you can imagine, this is causing an enormous amount of confusion and delaying the supply of material to the students," Edusolutions lawyer Ian Small-Smith said.

"All we ask for is that government does its bit and we will definitely do ours."

Section27 approached the North Gauteng High Court earlier in May, seeking an order that the textbooks be delivered across Limpopo within the next two weeks.

It also wants the court to order the Education Department to put a catch-up plan in place and close the gaps in the syllabus caused by the lack of learning material.

The government argued that no court order was necessary because it already had a plan to deliver the textbooks by the middle of next month.

Judge Jody Kollapen pointed out that the department had however failed previous undertakings.

When the issues arose, Section27 had stated on its website that "Despite resources being available, learners throughout Limpopo have not received a single new textbook this year.

"Learners in grades R, one, two, three and 10, who began a new curriculum in January, have still not received the support materials necessary to learn."