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Reinstate textbook whistleblower - group

2012-08-22 22:35

Johannesburg - A Limpopo education official dismissed for exposing irregularities in textbook tenders must be reinstated, lobby group Section27 said on Wednesday.

"Solly Tshitangano is a man who should be celebrated as a hero for his role in exposing irregularities," it said in a statement.

"For over two years he has been at the forefront of efforts to expose irregularities in the contract awarded to EduSolutions in 2010."

The provincial department of education could not be reached for comment, and national department spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi declined to comment.

"We have no comment on the Solly Tshitangano matter as it is all part of an investigation conducted by the National Treasurer on the textbooks," he said.

Section27 said that during 2009, Tshitangano made a number of attempts to deal with concerns about the tenders internally, but was ignored.

"He eventually escalated his concerns to the premier of Limpopo, the public protector and the presidency, though here again it led to no action," it said.

"For his efforts, he was locked out of his office; subjected to a forensic audit, suspended and eventually dismissed in December 2011.

"Since that time he has been unemployed and has not even been paid his pension."

The organisation said the department cancelled the EduSolutions tender in April after allegations of corruption emerged.

In June, EduSolutions sought an urgent court order against the department to reverse the cancellation.

"In its replying affidavit the... [department] used the information provided by Tshitangano as evidence to justify its decision to cancel the contract," Section27 said.

"It is ironic that the minister of basic education is now relying on Tshitangano’s allegations whilst at the same time is opposing his efforts in the Labour Court to have his dismissal overturned."

Section27 obtained a court order earlier in the year for textbooks to be delivered in the province by 15 June, following the late delivery of the books. The department missed the deadline.

In a meeting between Section27 and the department on 21 June, a revised date of 27 June was set.

This deadline was also missed.

Comments
  • Mandy Casey - 2012-08-22 23:55

    Forget about reinstate. He is a hero and should be made minister of education. He actually gives a damn about the children.

  • josie.russell.10 - 2012-08-23 06:39

    This is the person we need in government and municipal depts. Give him his job back at a higher level and a bonus - someone who actually deserves a bonus!

  • J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-08-23 08:01

    This has become the political ethic: to enter public service you must undertake to be a crook or to turn a blind eye, or accept a renewable contract with no medical aid or pension. It can be reversed more quickly than we believe: the average person is fundamentally conscientious

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