Madam Deputy Speaker, last week Judge Jody Kollapen ruled that the Department of Basic Education had violated the constitutional right of children in Limpopo to a basic education by not having supplied textbooks to them almost halfway through the school year.
Judge Kollapen ordered that the books be delivered by 15 June this year, and that a catch-up plan be put in place by 5 June to ensure that the affected learners are prepared for their year-end assessments. These orders the Minister has accepted.
Judge Kollapen then ordered the Department of Basic Education to provide the plan and monthly progress reports both to the court and to section 27 - the law centre that brought the action against the department.
The Minister has complained that, and I quote, "this may compromise the functioning of government and set a wrong precedent." How, Minister? Section 27 and the court stood up for the rights of learners when the department did not.
The Minister must simply do the right thing and comply, put her energy and effort into ensuring that the learners of Limpopo - one of the poorest provinces in South Africa - have a quality education, and thus a lifeline out of the poverty cycle in which they are so often trapped.
Who knows? In two years' time, these young people might be the recipients of youth wage subsidies to kick-start their careers. It is all about opportunity.