The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in Limpopo has given the education department three weeks to resolve issues surrounding learning materials for both pupils and teachers or it says it will force schools to close.

Union leaders announced plans to close schools on Thursday during a march to the provincial department of education.

The march, led by Cosatu and its affiliates in the education sector, comes days after the issue surrounding the non-delivery of stationery and textbooks was again highlighted.

Dozens of schools in the province are yet to receive these items.

Teachers say they have lost out on weeks of schooling due to the failure of the department to deliver stationery and textbooks.

On Thursday, teachers in the province downed tools and marched to the offices of Education MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe, Premier Stan Mathabatha, and the provincial treasury.

Sadtu provincial secretary Matome Raphasha said the march was aimed at putting a stop to the non-delivery of textbooks and stationery and to push for temporary teachers’ salaries to be paid.

He said some teachers had not been paid between April and December 2016.

The union said the failure to deliver learner teacher school materials (LTSM) has become a norm in the province.

“We analyse the situation and our view is that education provisioning in the province is collapsing on a daily basis and this can no longer be tolerated anymore,” said Raphasha.

“If these issues we have raised are not resolved as matter of urgency, rest assured we are going to shut all the schools and all public office in the province.”

Department ‘working around the clock’

The memorandum presented to Kgetjepe detailed how learning was being hampered by the lack of stationery and textbooks.

“Failure to deliver textbook and stationery has thrown the schooling into disarray in this province, parents are scrambling to purchase materials through their [meagre] grants,” said the memorandum read by Sowell Tjebane

Kgetjepe received the memorandum and said the union’s demands would be considered accordingly.

He said the department was working around the clock to ensure that stationery was delivered to schools.

Schooling did not take place in some schools on Thursday as teachers were on the streets marching.