JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday said the Limpopo textbook scandal could not be blamed on Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga alone.
Zuma was being interviewed by Talk Radio 702 presenter Redi Tlhabi in a wide-ranging interview in which the two discussed - among other issues - education, corruption and discipline in the ANC.
Some Limpopo learners are still without all necessary textbooks - more than halfway into the academic year.
Tlhabi tackled Zuma on the issue.
“You don’t know who’s responsible for that. You can’t say the minister, who is sitting in Pretoria in the office, is responsible”, the president said.
The president also said his government had made education in the country a priority.
He said the problems in Limpopo had their roots in apartheid, under the leadership of former president Hendrik Verwoerd.
“You are dealing with a teacher that comes from the Verwoedian system... his or her attitude towards education still needs to be worked on.
“We are not dealing with a problem of today; we are solving a problem of centuries [ago].”
He said he will not act against Motshekga yet until the matter was fully investigated.
MEDICAL PAROLE AND CORRUPTION
Zuma said people were politicising the decision to release former National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi on medical parole.
He said he did not have opinions on the decisions to release Selebi and the president’s former financial advisor Schabir Shaik from prison.
“I don’t think I can make a view on each and every prisoner that gets parole. They get parole every day for a variety of reasons.”
The former top cop was released medical parole on Friday, following a recommendation from the medical parole advisory board.
He is suffering from end-stage renal disease and undergoes dialysis three times a day.
Shaik was released from prison on medical parole in March, 2009, following his fraud conviction.
His release sparked suggestions he was discharged because of his connections to high-ranked politicians.
Sightings of him playing golf and eating out further aggravated questions of whether or not he was “terminally ill”.
The president said there were bodies constituted to make those decisions.
He also spoke about corruption, saying his government took the matter seriously.
“In other countries, nobody talks about corruption - it’s a way of life.
“But here, we’re fighting it. We’ve got a media here that is active and exposing it, which is absolutely important.”