The Education Portfolio Committee must call the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) to explain why it has turned to the High Court in a bid to stop a controversial R538 million tablet deal between the provincial education department and the Sizwe Africa IT Group.
The evidence is piling up that the contract, awarded to a subsidiary of well-known ANC-ally Iqbal Survé’s Ayo Technology Solutions, is irregular and should be set aside, despite the ANC members of the portfolio committee whitewashing the contract during a recent portfolio committee.
The resolution passed by the ANC members in the committee meeting, to allow the contract to proceed, was a rubber stamp of alleged corrupt activities, and has undermined the legislative oversight role that they swore an oath to uphold.
All the evidence points to an excessively overpriced contract, the execution of which has been fundamentally flawed from the start.
To mislead the Portfolio Committee, the MEC and his department have ducked and dived accountability. The Head of Department, Superintendent General Themba Kojana, has even perjured himself, by initially understating the contract costs on 13 May and then overstating the market value of the tablets on 16 July.
When it became clear that the department would not be able to sweep the contract under the carpet, the ANC members of the portfolio committee appear to have been given their marching orders, to push the contract through, despite objections from all other parties present.
The ANC members of the Education Portfolio Committee are adamant that there is nothing untoward about the contract.
If this is the case, why has the Special Investigating Authority found that there is sufficient evidence to warrant them investigating the matter?
I have now written to the Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Mpumelelo Saziwa, to ask that the committee calls SITA to present its reasons for seeking legal intervention on this matter.
Perhaps SITA can provide further clarity relating to the contract and the procedures that should have been followed. This could provide the ANC portfolio members with one last chance to redeem themselves.
Perhaps these ANC members will choose to uphold their ethical duty, and in light of the growing evidence, reverse their previous decision and put the people they have been elected to represent above the interests of the ANC.
I will fight relentlessly for clean governance and value for money expenditure in the Eastern Cape.