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'Pupils suffer while leaders bicker'

Sadtu Limpopo secretary Matome Raphasha said some teachers have not been paid since January.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi holds a news conference in Johannesburg on Thursday, 31 May 2012 following the union federation's central executive committee meeting.Picture: SAPA

PRETORIA - Limpopo school children went without textbooks because the tripartite alliance was too busy squabbling over positions, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Wednesday.

He lambasted the alliance, saying too many organisations were simply ignoring the needs of its people.

Vavi said this would not have happened if government officials sent their children to public schools.

At the same time, Limpopo officials are painting a worrying picture of corruption, incompetence and greed surrounding the textbook crisis.

Schools are still battling to get books into classrooms, despite assurances from the Basic Education Department.

Meanwhile, South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) Limpopo secretary Matome Raphasha said some teachers have not been paid since January.

"Problems in Limpopo are beyond the issue of textbooks. There are huge problems."

Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson on education Desiree van der Walt said the department is trying to cover up the extent of the scandal.

Eyewitness News on Wednesday visited a warehouse in Polokwane and was prevented from taking photos.

Many textbooks could be seen stacked on the floor between forklifts.

Depsite this, warehouse manager Petros Semenya said deliveries were going well.

There have also been calls for Limpopo Education MEC Dickson Masemola to resign, but the department said he was being used as a scapegoat.

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