The DA has asked the Public Protector to investigate the Education Department’s failure to solve chronic workbook shortages in Eastern Cape schools.

To date we have not received a satisfactory response from either the Minister or the MEC to letters of demand dated 22 and 23 July and 2 August.

The DA has identified chronic workbook shortages in the Port Elizabeth and Queenstown districts. Late last week, on a visit to the Louis Rex Primary School in Queenstown we were informed of a shortage of 2 300 books at just that one school.

Numerous visits to the PE district warehouse where books in the wrong language were being returned by schools have also identified no improvement in the shortage crisis.

The workbooks contain important exercises and study plans that help learners come to grips with the new curriculum. Learners who don’t receive these books are unfairly discriminated against on the basis of their rights to equality and a basic education.

We are concerned that the Department continues to deceive the public about progress in addressing the chronic shortages. It was promised that all books would be in schools by 22 July but more than three weeks into the school term this has still not taken place.

We are therefore left with no option but to ask the Public Protector to intervene in this situation.