Mabuza ponders findings on school transport corruption

2010-11-19 11:09

Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza is expected to decide in two weeks’ time what action to take over multimillion-rand corruption in the province’s school transport system.

Mabuza received a report today from a commission of inquiry, which he appointed in July 2009 after forensic auditors had uncovered widespread corruption and maladministration in the system.

Suspicions of irregularities were raised after the budget for scholar transport appeared to be meteorically increasing since 2001.

Costs for scholar transport had increased from R8.2 million in 2001 to R176.9 million in 2006. The scholar transport budget for the 2010/11 financial year is R354 million.

Mabuza, however, said he could not reveal the findings and recommendations of the commission, headed by private attorney Hettie Groenewald.

Groenewald’s investigation covered the period from 2006.

“I will need to look thoroughly at the report’s contents and recommendations so that I can decide on the course of action. This is a huge volume, which I will need time to study. For now, I can say that government is intolerant of corruption and puts the interest of our people first,” Mabuza said.

Groenewald said her team investigated 260 bus routes and 28 000 transactions.

“We found that many vehicles were unroadworthy and that some drivers did not have the necessary permits and driver’s licences,” she said.

“Registration numbers of these buses belonged to motorbikes and government vehicles, and when you get inside they were not fit for ferrying people.

“During rainy days, it would be better for the children to walk because they would still get soaked inside the vehicles,” Groenewald added.

Mabuza said that the scholar transport project – messy as it was – was still running.“We will perhaps go in when schools are closed because we would want to deal with this matter comprehensively without disrupting schooling,” he added.

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