Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has confirmed that she will investigate the chronic shortages of workbooks at schools in the Eastern Cape.

The DA laid a complaint last week due to workbook shortages identified by school visits and monitoring in the Port Elizabeth and Queenstown districts.

We trust that the Public Protector’s investigation will get to the bottom of why children in the Eastern Cape still do not have workbooks one month into the third term of the year.

The majority of schools contacted by the DA in both districts were either experiencing major shortages or had received the incorrect books. We believe this is a province-wide problem however caused by the Education Department’s botching of the ordering and delivering process.

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.

In the PE district, isiXhosa speaking learners had received books in seSotho. We also witnessed thousands of books being returned to the PE warehouse due to these incorrect deliveries.

In Queenstown, a visit to a Primary school revealed a shortage of 2300 books at just one school.

Putting the facts on the table will hopefully put an end to the blame-shifting currently underway between the provincial and national Education Departments.