'Bigwigs' behind Limpopo books bungle

2012-01-15 18:30
Grade 1s push their way into a classroom at Ogunjini Primary school in Ndwedwe, nothern KZN. While these pupils may get textbooks this year, Likmpopo pupils will not because of the textbook bungle. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya

Grade 1s push their way into a classroom at Ogunjini Primary school in Ndwedwe, nothern KZN. While these pupils may get textbooks this year, Likmpopo pupils will not because of the textbook bungle. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Zuma Exposed
    This book exposes Jacob Zuma, in such a way that he would not want you or anyone else to read it. Now R189.00
    buy now
Polokwane - A company controlled by ANC-connected businessmen and former top government mandarins is accused of obtaining a R320m textbook tender in Limpopo illegally – and bungling it.

This left thousands of pupils without books.

This is the claim made by Solly Tshitangano – the former general manager for budgets and acting chief financial officer in the Limpopo education department – who has turned whistleblower.

He revealed details of the deal to the public protector, Premier Cassel Mathale and President Jacob Zuma months before Pretoria stepped in to take over running much of the beleaguered province, including the education department.

By last week, publishers said the province had yet to order any textbooks for children returning to school.

Tshitangano now faces a basket of disciplinary charges, including gross negligence, gross insubordination and others, which he says are nothing but a vengeful plot against him for spilling the beans.

At the centre of the row is EduSolutions, a subsidiary of a burgeoning empire called African Access Holdings.

The directors of African Access – according to online company searches – include Mogopodi Mokoena, a former Gauteng director general and Joy Matsebula, a former acting director in the office of the presidency during Thabo Mbeki’s term, as well as other former top government officials.

“I am not surprised that the department is in financial trouble and that it was placed under administration. I warned that there would be fruitless and wasteful expenditure because of the irregular transactions for the 2010/11 financial year,” said Tshitangano.

He claimed the tender was awarded without due process being followed, and that the then head of the education department, Benny Boshielo, approved the contract worth more than R320m without attaching any conditions.

Nearly R20m upfront

The company got nearly R20m upfront in the deal which was signed in October 2010.

The tender was for procuring and delivering textbooks for an effective four years, and allowed EduSolutions to negotiate discounts with textbook suppliers which EduSolutions would split with the state.

Tshitangano said there had been no evidence that the mandatory competitive bidding required in the awarding of government tenders had taken place. No cost analysis had been conducted prior to it being advertised.

A handwritten document from the department’s bid adjudication committee dated July 26 2010 states that only one bidder had met the criteria and the words “on condition” had been scratched out. On the following day, Boshielo signed EduSolutions’ letter of appointment.

Boshielo dismissed Tshitangano claims, saying the tender was awarded legally. “I asked the provincial treasury to do a quality check on the process and procedures of the tender and they did. We even got assistance from the premier’s office,” said Boshielo.

He said that he had made an error when he didn’t include the 30% discount from the publishers in the tender document and was advised to do so by the Auditor-General.

Tshitangano claimed that of the R32.6m in discounts owed to the Limpopo education department, EduSolutions had only paid over R9.7m.

'Nothing untoward'


EduSolutions denies this.

EduSolutions executive director Moosa Ntimba said there was nothing untoward about the company receiving the tender. He denied that EduSolutions was responsible for the province’s failure to order textbooks, saying schools in the province had books, but none had yet been ordered for grades affected by the new curriculum.

He couldn’t provide an estimate of when the problem would be resolved, but said his company was anxious to find a solution and was working with officials from the provincial department.

Asked whether African Access’s politically connected board had anything to do with the government contracts, he said it was unfortunate that companies with politically connected black board members were regarded as corrupt.

The Limpopo education department refused to comment as it is under administration by the national government.

African Access did not respond to requests for comment.

Treasury spokesperson Bulelwa Boqwana would not comment specifically on EduSolutions but said: “It is important to understand the context that prompted the [Treasury] intervention. Those are cash management, budget management and supply chain related issues,” she said.

The public protector confirmed it was conducting an investigation into Tshitangano claims.
Read more on:    cassel mathale  |  jacob zuma  |  polokwane  |  education  |  textbook saga  |  tenders
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
51 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/World
 

7 insanely cool smartphone photography tips

With these smartphone photography tips your pics will have some edge!

 
 

For chic geeks...

10 mind-blowing explosions done in the name of science
Wearable Tech: Sleek or geek?
Google is bringing you self flying delivery drones
Polaroid’s new rugged action cam is badass

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Camping gear!

We’ve got all your camping must have’s right here at mind blowing low prices. Check them out now!

Herbex – buy 3 & get 1 free!

Fat burn packs, appetite control chewies, stretch mark cream and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

30% off Jinger Jack handbags

Spice up your wardrobe and save 30% on stylish Jinger Jack handbags. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Buy 3 books & pay for 2

The cheapest of the 3 books will be free. Offer valid while stocks last. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

Deal of the week!

Hisense 40” Full HD LED Television now R3999. Offer valid while stocks last. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Mercury has moved into Libra which adds a more social energy to the way you can communicate and connect things. Today is about...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.