Opposition parties want answers to lost R75m

OPPOSITION parties have slammed the Eastern Cape education department for sitting on a forensic report detailing a probe into missing funds for textbooks.

The report prepared by forensic investigators PricewaterhouseCoopers to track what happened to R75-million meant for textbooks has yet to be presented to the portfolio committee on education.

The department told the Dispatch last month the probe had been finalised and the report prepared and submitted to the executive management to determine further action.

However, political parties said this week they had yet to be informed about the outcome of the investigation.

COPE provincial leader Sam Kwelita said they had not heard about the report.

“We would like to know what happened to the funds. Clearly, schools mismanaged these funds and the report uncovered what happened, and it has to be publicised in the legislature.”

DA shadow MEC for education Edmund van Vuuren said the report had never been presented to the legislature.

“The department has to tell us what happened to this money and that report has to be presented to the legislature.

“We need to know the outcome of those investigations so action can be taken against those found to have mismanaged the funds.”

UDM MPL Jackson Bici was shocked at the delay. “We’ve heard about this forensic investigation but we don’t know what happened to it. They are sitting on a report that is supposed to have been presented to MPLs on the oversight structure of the department. This is unacceptable.”

Eastern Cape portfolio committee on education chairman Mzoleli Mrara confirmed the report had yet to be presented.

Mrara said the department would have to present the report when the committee resumed next month.

Attempts were made to get a comment from acting education superintendent-general Mthunywa Ngonzo about the report yesterday, but these were unsuccessful.

But when Ngonzo was questioned about the report earlier this week he said he had no knowledge of it.

He said he would have to investigate its whereabouts.

The department has issued a circular to schools informing school governing bodies of Ngonzo’s plan to purchase books because they had failed to pay suppliers.

It is not clear, however, whether these were among schools which were investigated for mismanagement of funds. — msindisif@dispatch.