Teachers’ still want Lubisi’s head over R76 mln embezzled funds

2011-07-14 00:00

THE former director-general of the Education Department in KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Cassius Lubisi, would not be drawn to comment on the continued calls for his dismissal by the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) in KZN, calls which seem to be following him to the Office of the Presidency.

However, Lubisi told The Witness through Harold Maloka, a spokesperson for the presidency, he is ready to account to an appropriate forum if called upon.

Calls for Lubisi’s head have been dogging him since the union alleged in 2009 that there was corruption in the provincial Education Department.

Repeated strikes took place in that time, with the union accusing the department of financial mismanagement, corruption and improper tendering processes.

Protesters called for Lubisi and his four top managers to be expelled. They included Lulama Mbobo, former head of human resources and admin services; Mlungisi Ntombela, former Umlazi district director; Simon Mbokazi, the head of service delivery; and chief financial officer Hlengiwe Ncuma.

bokazi and Ncuma have kept their jobs.

A forensic investigation was commissioned by MEC Senzo Mchunu that year.

Mbuyiseni Mathonsi, Sadtu’s secretary-general in the province, recently told The Witness, “We certainly feel happy that we have been vindicated because we were made to look as if we were doing this as a witch hunt against certain individuals.”

He said the forensic report, which was read with the guidance of the union’s lawyers, shows that more than R76 million was embezzled from the department on Lubisi’s watch.

Part of the corruption involves property bought by the department at inflated prices, resulting in the loss of million of rands.

Mathonsi gave the example of the Anton Lembede building in Burger Street, which he said was offered at a price of R50 million, but was bought for R64 million.

The department also coughed up R36 million for a building in Mkuze with a price tag of R19 million.

“How many schools would have been built with that money? How many teachers would have been received to ameliorate the issue of teacher shortages?

“How many books and stationery would have been bought? How many laboratories would have been built? I want to highlight how much quantitatively would have been done,” Mathonsi asked.

“Action must follow. The report calls for certain individuals to be criminally charged.

“We want those recommendations to be taken up. Even those individuals who have decided to run away.”

At a media briefing in Durban in June last year Mchunu said the report cleared Lubisi of any wrongdoing and that there was no evidence suggesting that he was guilty of corruption. The Witness understands that the KZN Legislature portfolio committee dealing with education was made privy to the report only about three weeks ago.

A committee member and the education spokesperson for the Democratic Alliance, Tom Stokes, confirmed that the committee received feed-back on the forensic report, but said some of the responses “were rather vague”.

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