THE South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in Limpopo on Wednesday cast doubt on the ability of the Department of Basic Education to deliver textbooks in time next year to schools in the province.

The seven-month delay in textbook delivery in Limpopo has been one of the major political controversies this year, but the department remains adamant that the delay would not be repeated next year.

In a statement on Wednesday, Sadtu Limpopo secretary Matome Raphasha said teachers in the province were not "convinced" the province would live up to its promises.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said in a briefing in Limpopo last week that all textbooks were heading to central warehouses and that numerous mechanisms were already in place to deal swiftly with reports of non-delivery or shortages well before the deadline of December 14.

Mr Raphasha said it was clear that departmental officials were overly concerned with cutting costs at the expense of effective teaching and learning.

Many teachers working overtime in catch-up programmes for affected pupils had not been paid since September, and if payment was not made soon Sadtu "will consider other options to pressurise the department despite the crucial period of writing examinations," said Mr Raphasha.

Department of Basic Education spokesman Panyaza Lesufi said the payment for teachers would take place soon.

Mr Lesufi said those expecting the department to fail to deliver textbooks for next year "should expect to eat humble pie".