Premier Mabuyane must be called to explain HOD suspension

Issued by Yusuf Cassim, MPL
Shadow MEC for Education

Premier Oscar Mabuyane must be called before the Education Portfolio Committee to explain his reasoning for suspending the EC Head of Education, Dr Naledi Mbude.

Based on the documentation provided to the Eastern Cape Portfolio Committee on Education, Dr. Mbude has in fact given substantive representations to the Premier as to why textbooks orders could not be completed and why the Education Infrastructure Grant funding was not spent.

Dr Mbude, who was only appointed to the position last year June, has apparently uncovered several issues of maladministration and corruption, based on the reports provided to the committee following her suspension. This raises the question as to what the true motive is for her suspension.

Representations made available to the committee revealed the following:

  • There was insufficient budget to order stationery and textbooks and Dr Mbude would not process manual orders which would generate an accrual, as was done in previous years, as doing so is in contravention of section 39 (c) of the PFMA;
  • Letters were sent to alert the DG of Provincial Treasury, Mr Mweli, of the unavailability of funds to order stationery and textbooks;
  • Fruitless and wasteful expenditure totalling over R13-million in the infrastructure projects run by implementing agents in the 2020/2021 financial year;
  • Irregular expenditure totalling over half a billion rand in the infrastructure projects run by implementing agents in the 2020/2021 financial year;

The infrastructure audit Dr Mbude instituted has already revealed discrepancies of over R54-million in the two districts where the audits have already been finalised. These discrepancies were between the infrastructure paid for and the infrastructure found to have been built at, or provided to, schools.

The Department’s reluctance to hand over the audit outcomes for these districts to the portfolio committee, when the information has already been relied on for representations to both the Premier and the portfolio committee, is extremely worrying.

The Eastern Cape Department of Education has become the feeding trough of the corrupt, with hundreds of millions apparently syphoned off to line the pockets of cadres, at the expense of the children of our province.

The question that now needs to be answered is why Premier Mabuyane has suspended Dr Mbude, when there is substantive documentation showing that she acted within the prescripts of the law, rather than dealing with the rot that she has uncovered?

I have written to the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Education, Mpumelelo Saziwa, requesting that Premier be called before the Portfolio Committee to explain the suspension of Dr Mbude and the investigation that is taking place.

Download letter

The DA will continue to hold the Department to account and will be pursuing the evidence uncovered by Dr Mbude, regardless of the steps taken to prevent the truth from being exposed.