SIU shows how deep the rot goes in EC Dept of Education

Issued by Yusuf Cassim, MPL
Shadow MEC for Education

The damning Special Investigating Unit’s report into Covid-19 corruption, released by President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday, shows just how rotten the Eastern Cape Department of Education has become.

Premier Oscar Mabuyane can no longer continue to give lip-service to the fight against corruption, he must ensure that immediate action is taken against Department officials implicated in the SIU report.

Mabuyane need not twiddle his thumbs, he only has to read the report to find the names of officials who had no problem siphoning off money from an already cash-strapped department, to line their own pockets, knowing that by doing so they were stealing from the children of this province.

Officials like the Chief Director of Supply Chain, Marius Harmse, implicated in corruption and money laundering, after receiving an alleged kickback of R328,000 for a vehicle from his business partner, Sigqibo Makupula, soon after Makupula’s business, Kup’s Trading, was awarded a R4 million PPE tender.

Or Nandipa Tembo, Director: Asset and Logistics, implicated in fraud, corruption and money laundering. She was allegedly using her sister’s company, Alinani Trading and her Husband’s relative’s business, Ikuda Technologies, to secure PPE tenders worth over R4,2 million.

Or Siyabonga Qhomfo, the Acting Director: Internal Control Unit who allegedly received a financial kickback of R10,000 from Konstruct SGN, after processing payment to the business for a R2,4 million PPE tender. The same Qhomfo allegedly used his wife’s business, Yinathi Trading, to secure a separate R2,4 million PPE tender.

It is a shocking indictment on the Department of Education, who according to the SIU Report, felt that Qhomfo’s actions only warranted a two-month suspension without pay!

It is also no surprise that the Sizwe Afrika contract for tablets features prominently in the Report, with the SIU confirming that the procurement was irregular and had failed to comply with provincial treasury conditions.

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the fact that the SIU has locus standi in this matter, and that it is drafting papers for a joinder to the current SITA court case.

It is clear from the report that the Department of Education is rotten to the core, and that senior officials have lost sight of their mandate to look after the children of this province.

I will be writing to the chair of the Education Portfolio Committee, Mpumelelo Saziwa, to request that he calls a meeting of the committee, to consider the report and the implications.

The DA is also calling on Premier Mabuyane to ensure that the Department of Education acts on the recommendations of the report, and that the officials implicated by the SIU report, and others who are guilty of corruption, are dealt with swiftly and harshly!

No official should be allowed to resign and avoid the consequences, they have stolen money meant to assist our people in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. They need to be made examples of.

The DA will continue to champion clean governance so learners can receive the education they deserve.