The Eastern Cape Education Department has embarked on a campaign to mislead the public rather than coming out with the truth about the destruction of textbooks at the Fort Beaufort warehouse.

Yesterday the DA identified thousands of textbooks lying burnt in and around an Education Department district warehouse.

The Department’s spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani claimed that the books belonged to an old teacher’s college that was closed in 1998 and that the books were more than a decade old.

According to our photo’s however, the destroyed material was in fact Intermediate Phase Math textbooks printed in 2004, as well as a practical Maths Study Guide for Grade 11 printed in 2007. These books are still relevant for the current curriculum. The curriculums will only change from 2013 onwards.

This is the latest in a number of instances where officials of the Department of Education have purposefully misled the public:

• The PE district director, Dr Nyathi Ntsiko, claimed that books would be in schools by last Friday. This has not happened.

• On Friday, 20 July, MEC Mandla Makupula claimed at a legislature portfolio committee meeting that the Department did not know what the full extent of book delivery problems was. However, the DA had on the same day identified on the PE-district database that there were shortages of 25 370 literacy workbooks and 15 500 numeracy workbooks in that district alone.

• On Sunday, 22 July, Basic Education Department spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi falsely claimed that chronic book delivery problems were limited only to the Port Elizabeth district – a day before thousands of destroyed books not delivered to schools were discovered by the DA in Fort Beaufort.

The DA repeats its call for a full explanation from the Education MEC, Mandla Makupula to the public about this disgrace. The delivery of all outstanding books must happen without delay.