The Department of Basic Education has blamed its service providers for the delay in meeting the deadline to deliver braille textbooks to special schools.

The department says the limited capacity has caused the hold-up, following an agreement with civic society organisations.  The department failed to meet the November 2018 deadline.

The High Court in Pretoria has now turned the agreement into a court order.

The department’s spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga says the shortages are currently being addressed.

“We encountered a challenge from the service provider in that they do not have capacity to print the volumes that we have requested them to deliver on and they have put that in writing to us. But where deliveries have taken place we have made those books available to schools. So we are making progress, we also conducted the audit that the out of court settlement required us to do. We know that Section 27 has now made that a court order, we didn’t oppose it because it changes nothing,” says Mhlanga.

Mhlanga says the department relies on one service provider to supply braille material to special schools.

“It is the type of service, the specialised service. Not everyone prints in braille and not everyone prints textbooks in braille and when you also appoint a service provider you look at quality, you look at capacity and in this case the supplier has been doing a good job, except now that in the new arrangement that’s in place, it forces them to do a lot, more than they have been doing in the past.”