A CALL for Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to resign within two weeks is misguided, her office said on Tuesday.
"A high-profile presidential task team has concluded its investigation and handed the report to the Presidency," ministerial spokeswoman Hope Mokgatlhe said, adding: "Wait for the outcome of this report before making any judgments."
Pressure on Ms Motshekga mounted at the weekend over late delivery of textbooks in Limpopo, with allegations that her department had been aware of irregularities in textbook tenders since early last year.
Some pupils in the province had waited seven months for educational resources, with criticism over the effect on pupils culminating in court action that saw the department ordered to deliver textbooks by June 15.
President Jacob Zuma had appointed the task team, which included five deputy ministers, to look into the causes of the delays in delivering textbooks to Limpopo schools. The Limpopo also provincial government instituted its own probe.
A third independent report, compiled by former education director-general Mary Metcalfe, was released this month. Ms Metcalfe had looked into the failure of the Department of Basic Education to meet the court-ordered dates of delivery, and her report concluded that insufficient resources had been made available to ensure that a delivery process that usually took six weeks could take place in two weeks, causing the system to "buckle".
While Ms Metcalfe had no mandate to conduct a forensic investigation, or to investigate the termination of contracts for textbooks, she noted that she held "different views" from the department on whether the process of ordering books could have begun earlier - a matter that was part of the terms of reference for the presidential task team.
Earlier on Tuesday, the African National Congress Youth League and Congress of South African Students (Cosas) demanded Ms Motshekga resign following the scandal.
"She has failed to deliver on the trust the nation had placed upon her to open the doors of learning and teaching," Cosas president Bongani Mani said. "She must just take personal responsibility, admit her failure and resign."
The youth league and Cosas threatened mass action if Ms Motshekga did not step down within two weeks.
Ms Mokgatlhe said: "The ministry of basic education wonders why the (youth league) and Cosas cannot wait for the report (to the Presidency) to be released publicly before making their call."
A meeting of the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) had given directives to the department so it could strengthen its capacity, she said.
"The department subsequently responded with a fresh commitment," she said, adding that the youth league and Cosas "had been part of the decision taken" by the NEC.
Ms Motshekga will be in Limpopo on Wednesday to oversee the implementation of legislation placing the province under administration, and to meet school principals in the Capricorn district.
The education department in Limpopo was one of five placed under national administration in December over the prospect of a R2bn shortfall.
With Sapa and Karl Gernetzky