FET college rector quits

2010-12-10 00:00

SIPHO Khuzwayo has resigned from his position as the rector of the uMgungundlovu Further Education and Training (UFET) College.

The move follows the conclusion of an investigation into allegations of corruption and procurement irregularities that have been levelled against him after a member of the public blew the whistle last year.

KZN Education MEC Senzo Mchunu had initially ordered a forensic investigation to look at the veracity of allegations of corruption relating to the conduct of senior officials of his department after accusations made by the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union.

However, he later decided to expand the investigation by also inviting the public to make their submissions about corruption touching education as a whole in the province.

Khuzwayo was scheduled to go before a disciplinary hearing at the end of last month to answer to questions relating to the purchase of specialised equipment for the Plessislaer campus, after UFET received a lump sum of R3 million from government for its recapitalisation programme.

These funds aimed to improve the country’s skills base by ensuring that training facilities are relevant and ready for programme delivery in line with the objectives of the National Skills Development.

Khuzwayo instead tendered his resignation on November 26, three days before the hearing.

The findings of the forensic report in possession of The Witness last month showed that Khuzwayo was accused of unilaterally appointing a broad-based economic empowerment (BBBEE) service provider who had not been part of the tender process.

This allegedly resulted in the delivery of equipment that was of inferior quality, not as specified and allegedly overcharged. One example involves an air compressor, retailing for R4 486, for which the college paid R112 560. In some cases, the equipment was not even delivered, despite being paid COD.

Khuzwayo is also alleged to have approved an advance of R300 000 to the supplier before delivery of the goods.

He is also accused of signing off the final amount of R272 586 despite complaints by workshop managers about non-delivery of one machine worth R67 106 and unusable equipment.

According to the report, the decision to exclude BEE suppliers had been discussed at length by the planning committees, based on the fact that only specialist companies could deliver on the essential requirements and guarantee warranties as well as future servicing of the machines.

Department spokesperson Mbali Thusi said a decision would be made shortly on whether the department would accept Khuzwayo’s resignation.

Approached for comment yesterday, Khuzwayo said he would first consult his attorney and would comment today.

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