News24

'Bigwigs' behind Limpopo books bungle

2012-01-15 18:30

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.

Comments
  • Mboma - 2012-01-15 14:36

    One will be a fool to supply something, if you can be paid witout doing it, as it seem to be the case here. There are no conditions so not supplying even if you have been paid it seem you are not violating anything. This South Africa!

      Dirk - 2012-01-15 19:14

      The crooks are politicians in training. Next step is re-deployment to the premiers office

      Boer - 2012-01-15 19:25

      SA is a land of crooks. Pitty for those that lives a honest life in SA

      Newsreader - 2012-01-19 20:28

      Ha ha ha ha! Only the ANC officials are allowed to play Limpopo lottery!!! Ama winna wena!!!

      Sedick - 2012-05-13 22:20

      AND, despite not having books 5 months into the yearn I bet you our matrix results will be better than last year........

  • Sean - 2012-01-15 18:52

    Just another day in dying South Africa ! Viva ANC , Viva ``Economic Freedom`` , Viva Malema , Viva Zuma !!! Viva ``se moer`` , bunch of incompetent criminals !!

  • Ian - 2012-01-15 18:56

    well duh, of course they bungled it, the cash went to puties and cars and holidays

  • Jim - 2012-01-15 19:05

    Cretins, Criminals, and Cheaters, these are the folk buying luxury cars and houses, with taxpayers money. In any 1st world country, these people would be convicted of theft, fraud, collusion, and cospirarcy. They would serve many years in prison, and their illegal gains forfeited. Not here in S.A. They are protected by their similar peers.

  • Robin - 2012-01-15 19:06

    So why am I not surprised?

  • jandreleroux - 2012-01-15 19:12

    Do I smell some medical paroles in the future?

      Ben - 2012-01-15 19:24

      No way. This will just die a slow death with cover-ups all round.

  • Newsreader - 2012-01-15 19:21

    Ha ha ha ha ha, another typical day in Limpopo!

  • Taetjo - 2012-01-15 19:28

    Rotten Province Limpopo is.

      Heinrich - 2012-01-15 21:55

      Limp paw-paw.

  • Adam - 2012-01-15 19:34

    Let them use Ipads, and eat cake for lunch.

  • Herman - 2012-01-15 19:37

    Whatever the anc or their previously disadvantaged black tenderpreneurs touch is criminal........proove me wrong, for once............

  • Andre - 2012-01-15 19:39

    Send in the Hawks!

  • Chris - 2012-01-15 19:43

    The next Zimbabwe is arriving fast - and it's happening right here in sunny South Africa. Get out now or else you'll be in for a rough ride!

  • Wendy - 2012-01-15 19:55

    Here we go again !!

  • Carol - 2012-01-15 19:57

    I am so sick and tired of this continual abuse to power and letting the future of our generations down, they should be shot against the wall, it is about time we bring back the death penality!! ANC wait till China takes control of you and then you will all be staring into the firing squad!

  • Deepchund - 2012-01-15 20:05

    R20m upfront, what a joke, or is it a joke. The ANC is filling its coffers indirectly,the rigged tender process and payment upfront is the way to milk the taxpayer.Every South African should try and get his hand in the cookie jar, 'when in Rome,do as the Romans do'. If you are caught and found guilty, pull a S Shaik / J Selebi stunt.

  • gavin.simpson.0 - 2012-01-15 20:15

    cANCer... you are a disgrace to mankind. How can anyone have so little shame?

  • braamc - 2012-01-15 20:24

    They f*&6ck over there own people, own children. What a fine bunch of ANC thieving c^&nts

  • braamc - 2012-01-15 20:27

    Must be great being a black child in Limpopo, you will never be educated, thank your ANC comrade uncle and auntie.

  • Joe - 2012-01-15 20:39

    The publishers have not even received any orders from the Province for these text books, yet these thugs have been given 20m upfront. Ridiculous!! As for the intervention by treasury; the only cash management question that has to be ask is "where is this money."

  • Bert - 2012-01-15 20:40

    Government Mandarins... love the word mandarins has a ring of the Orient about it. China perhaps. Oh for this to be approached and disciplined in a Chinese manner. bang bang, that awful sound, bang bang, they hit the ground, bang bang, the jury shot them down. All implicated should be dealt with "Mandarin" style. Soon stop the corruption.

      Glyn - 2012-02-17 17:54

      They are not mandarins, they are oligarchs !

  • braamc - 2012-01-15 20:41

    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 - how unusual, they say it about themselves

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2012-01-15 20:47

    Blackman you are in your own. Their kids are in model c schools and they are starving poor kids from their democratic rights, education. Public schools are the corner stones of our democracy because even the learners from the poorest backgrounds get their education from these schools. The most impoverished province is being dragged back to the bottom of the socio-economic ladder by these unscrupulous politicians. The main output of all intiatives is self-enrichment instead of service delivery. Everything in Limpopo is falling apart. If you want to see corruption taking place live, come to Limpopo. Tenders and jobs have their candidates before adverts are issued. Someone once burnt around R45 M of notes after he was tipped that police were coming to search his mansion and that's Limpopo for you.

  • Mabs - 2012-01-15 20:47

    All I want to know who is going to take responsibility NOW to get the learners books?

      George - 2012-01-16 08:28

      Eish, let me tink, ok no one

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2012-01-15 20:48

    Blackman you are in your own. Their kids are in model c schools and they are starving poor kids from their democratic rights, education. Public schools are the corner stones of our democracy because even the learners from the poorest backgrounds get their education from these schools. The most impoverished province is being dragged back to the bottom of the socio-economic ladder by these unscrupulous politicians. The main output of all intiatives is self-enrichment instead of service delivery. Everything in Limpopo is falling apart. If you want to see corruption taking place live, come to Limpopo. Tenders and jobs have their candidates before adverts are issued. Someone once burnt around R45 M of notes after he was tipped that police were coming to search his mansion and that's Limpopo for you.

      Irene - 2012-01-15 21:00

      Tshivhombela ~ Model C schools? I doubt it. Their kids are at private schools or educated overseas.

  • Mehluli - 2012-01-15 20:54

    its all government employees and ANC big wings on tenders.

  • Sinudeity - 2012-01-15 21:09

    Julius and his cohorts are single-handedly F***ing up a province.

  • Phiwo Gasa - 2012-01-15 21:10

    For as long as their electorate remains poor and illiterate, they will get votes. Thats the plan and its working well

      Mabs - 2012-01-15 23:02

      Is that why they have delays at the very schools that desperately need to get ahead? if so, its a disgrace. The least a country can do is educate its citizens.

  • Heinrich - 2012-01-15 21:17

    ANC : Stealing from our children. Stealing our future. Together we can take more. Pay back every cent, you are soles ! Bus studs !

  • TheWatcher - 2012-01-15 21:23

    Tender companies (and their owners + executive board) should be blacklisted when they screw things up this badly. Would solve a lot of problems of repeated *rude word* ups.

  • pws69 - 2012-01-15 22:02

    Again and again and again. When will it end?

  • Louis - 2012-01-15 23:54

    Another typical example of ineptocracy-a system of government where the least capable to lead, are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

  • Grant - 2012-01-16 01:16

    Not a single comment from any of the ANC trolls yet and only 6 'thumbs down' for the entire 39 comments. But wait, when they recover from their babalaases they will think of something - maybe even blame Hellen Zille and apartheid. Why not? They blame them for everything else.

  • Haveyoursay - 2012-01-16 06:54

    This is the tip of the iceberg.

  • Perfume - 2012-01-16 08:03

    Association of National Criminals is at it again. Why do all these things happen in Limpopo????

  • SarelJBotha - 2012-01-16 08:27

    The price of African "FREEDOM": Being robbed by your own people.

  • Malcolm - 2012-01-16 10:24

    Black people usually make good assistant-managers, but invariably fail to make good “bigwigs”. Their propensity for unbridled corruption almost always taints their service delivery when placed in a position of supreme authority.

      maylani.bezuidenhout - 2012-01-19 22:04

      What utter rubbish... I think you will find that your statement applies to just about anyone of any skin colour. Absolute power corrupts absolutely?

  • Johnson - 2012-01-19 21:08

    It took Zimbabwe 365 Months to totally bankrupt and Limpopo 120 Months - Eastern Cape to Follow, North West and Mphumalanga - Nobody is taking corruption serious and nobody believes that the whole country can go bankrupt. This is the first lesson - corruption does not pay in the long run. Procurement must be open and transparent

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