Education probe: DA questions MEC’s gag

2010-06-22 00:00

MEMBERS of the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) are not the only ones unhappy about the KZN Education Department’s decision not to release the full audit report on a corruption probe, after a number of the department’s senior officials were fingered.

The Democratic Alliance has also joined the fray.

MEC Senzo Mchunu called for an investigation after the teacher union first highlighted a number of allegations, some of which centre on the mismanagement of funds.

Mchunu received the report from Ngubane & Associates, a consortium of three auditors who were handling the investigations, in April, but only released some of the findings last Thursday.

Mchunu claimed to have been studying the report and seeking legal opinion. While he indicated that some officials were found to have been guilty, Mchunu has not named them or specified what their violations were or when they will be charged.

Sadtu, which felt that as the major stakeholder it should have been privy to the report, has written to Mchunu requesting that the report be made public.

DA KZN Education spokesperson Tom Stokes has voiced his disappointment about the portfolio committee also being kept in the dark.

“The MEC’s lack of transparency, at this stage, is very disappointing, particularly given the praise he received at the start of the investigation for the open manner in which he engaged with the portfolio committee,” said Stokes.

He claims tht by forcing committee members to rely on press reports for progress on the investigation, the MEC has totally undermined the oversight role that the committee is meant to provide.

Stokes added that with a R30 billion budget the department works with each year, there is ample opportunity for “loopholes in financial controls and for large amounts of money to go missing”.

“It is therefore imperative that senior officials tasked with protecting these funds are both diligent and scrupulously honest. If they are found wanting, or guilty of fraud, they should be fired or charged and imprisoned …” he said.

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