Ask anyone in this country, what are the worst problems we face as South Africans. Most will reply that our most pressing problems are crime, lack of education and poverty.
I have always believed that crime, education and poverty go hand-in-hand with one other and the three combined can form a vicious circle. How does one transcend poverty? Surely with a good, sound education, which will hopefully open doors to decent work opportunities; yet, when basic education is lacking, many turn to a life of crime while others live from hand to mouth to try and survive each day.
We all know that education is the skeleton key to get out of the rut of poverty, but how does one pull yourself out of this gutter if your most basic needs (food and shelter) are not being met? Yes, there are some government schools that offer cheap education - where the government provides the textbooks at a nominal (depending on the area) sum of money.
This dilemma infuriates me when hearing about the thousands of textbooks being dumped; textbooks that were destined to schools in Limpopo. Then we learn that our government has allegedly paid contractors to destroy “old” textbooks – textbooks they claim, have no value to learners. Yet, with so many schools suffering from a lack of any books, surely any book will have sufficed?
It is at times like these that I realise the importance and power of the political opposition. Both COPE and the DA are demanding investigations into the above-mentioned misconducts. While I am satisfied they will get to the bottom of the rot, I fear any investigation will drag on for years before we get answers. In the mean time, what happens to those who desperately need to be educated?
It is a crime that this has happened at all. Have we just scraped the tip of the iceberg? Or perhaps the biggest crime is that it has probably has been happening for many years?
Who and what are Edusolutions, the company that the Limpopo government awarded its tender to print and deliver textbooks to schools in the province?
According to Solomon Tshitangano, who worked in the Limpopo Department of education, there were irregularities when the tender was awarded to Edusolutions. Tshitangano tried to blow the whistle on the deal, thinking that because the government was anti-corruption, they would act on his concerns. Instead, he was fired; He has since taken his case to the labour court.
What happened to the approximately R20 million in discounts due, that was owed by Edusolutions to the Limpopo government? In January 2011 Edusolutions invoiced the Limpopo government for an amount of just less than one hundred and ten million Rand; Under the terms of their contract, Edusolutions had to pay the Limpopo government a discounted amount of approximately 30% of the invoiced amount. However, the government only received about 10% of that discount amount. So, who received the other 20% (or R20 million)?
Did Edusolutions pocket the money, or was the difference used as “gifts” to those who awarded the tender to Edusolutions?
Something smells rotten, and it is not the smell of the dumped textbooks by service delivery contractors!
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