Limpopo closes chapter of delays in delivery of textbooks

Pretoria: Limpopo has turned the tide on delays in the delivery of textbooks, Premier Chupu Mathabatha said on Tuesday.

“We have completely closed the chapter of delays in the delivery of textbooks. 1.7 million learners have already been provided with textbooks for this current academic year.

“Once more, we are making a clarion call to school principals, educators, learners, parents and other relevant stakeholders to help us with the retrieval of textbooks at the end of every academic year.

“Let us continue to make the education of our children a societal issue,” Premier Mathabatha said while delivering the State of the Province Address (SOPA) at the Lebowakgomo Legislature.

The province started the 2015 academic year with a blend of good and sad news in the education sector.

While the province was still celebrating the improvement in the performance of the matrics, the jovial mood was short-lived following the death of Education MEC Thembisile Nwendamutswu.

In her honour and memory, Premier Mathabatha has urged the Class of 2015, to settle for no less than an 80% pass rate.

The Premier said other measures were being taken to improve education.

“In order to capacitate and equip educators and curriculum advisors with a deeper knowledge of both content and teaching methodology, particularly in mathematics, science, technology, commerce and language subjects, we have trained over 1 060 educators through the Continuous Professional Development Programme.”

He said the plan this year is to place a further 300 educators and 80 curriculum advisors on the same training programme.

ECD, scholar transport

“Our commitment to early childhood development (ECD) has seen us increase public primary schools that offer grade R to 2 340 and we intend to increase this number to 2 485 in the next financial year.

“As a measure of promoting effective learning, we have made a provision to expand scholar transport to cover no less than 21 000 learners,” he said.

The Premier said the provincial government will continue to provide all no-fee paying schools with nutritional meals.

Besides the isolated incidents of food poisoning experienced last year, Premier Mathabatha said learner attendance continues to improve as a result of this programme.

In the light of the recent challenges experienced in the implementation of the programme, the Premier has since instructed the Acting MEC for Education to review the current model of supplying food to schools in order to ensure safety, efficiency and effectiveness.

The review must also ensure the participation of as many capable suppliers and other relevant social partners as possible.

“Government will also ensure the eradication of inappropriate sanitation facilities and unsafe school infrastructure.

“This will also include repairs to storm damaged schools and provision of new schools, classrooms, laboratories, libraries and more importantly, water,” he said.

Good financial standing

The Premier said he is pleased the province is doing much better financially.

Section 100 administrators have now left the province.

“We are now in section 100 (1) (a) of the Constitution until the end of next month. We can proudly say that Limpopo is a much better place than it was before December 2011. We are delighted that the financial position regarding cash, solvency and budget has been stabilised.

“There is no doubt that there is a significant improvement in the administration and corporate governance of the province, especially the financial management systems,” he said.

During this period, the Premier said they are only required to report to national government on outstanding areas to be monitored, while the affected MECs and HODs regain their original legislative powers.

“In this regard, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the President for the leadership provided, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Section 100 (1) (b) for vigilant monitoring, the NCOP [National Council of Provinces] for the oversight role they played and more importantly, the administrators for the good work done.

“As a province, we have also taken much valued lessons from the work of the team. We would like to once again commit to do everything in our power to ensure that the province does not return to the December 2011 situation,” he said.

In 2011, Cabinet placed five provincial departments under administration because of a lack of financial management and a high level of maladministration.

The five departments are Provincial Treasury, Education, Roads and Transport, Public Works and Health and Social Development.

Premier Mathabatha said the process of handing over all disciplinary cases to the provincial administration by the Section 100 administrators is well underway. This will enable the provincial administration to proceed with these disciplinary cases.

In respect of accounting officers, the Premier said disciplinary hearings are being conducted accordingly.

“I … hope … this matter will be finalised as soon as it is reasonably possible. This situation where we have had to suspend officials of government en mass is unprecedented and has had a detrimental impact on the stability of government,” he said.

SOURCE: South African Official News