Education loses data from seized PCs

2010-02-23 00:00

COMPUTERS with essential data belonging to sections of the KZN education department were seized and auctioned off on Friday to cover a debt allegedly owed to a group of attorneys.

An insider told The Witness that the tax and garnishee sections of the department were visited by a sheriff of the court, who came to collect 20 computers after the department appeared to have failed to pay attorneys.

It is understood that the attorneys have a judgment against the department for R50 000.

The essential data on the 20 computers had allegedly not been downloaded before they were collected, even though the department had been warned a month or two before the incident that they would be seized.

An employee, who told The Witness they had already been cautioned against speaking to the media, said staff in the Metropolitan Building in Pietermaritz Street, where the computers were taken from, rely heavily on their compu­ters.

“Everything is at a standstill. It is very frustrating. We are coming to work, but we are stuck in the mud because we are lost without our computers.

“We need them 24 hours a day … the problem is we don’t know how long we will go on like this. But they will have to be replaced,” said the employee.

According to the source, the tax department sorts out all the department’s tax matters.

“We deal with all the IRP5 certificates and teachers who feel that they are over-taxed come to us and we investigate.

“But everything has come to a halt,” a source said.

The Witness has reliably learnt that most of the computers were sold by auction on Friday.

The department allegedly went to court to try to have the auction postponed, but was unsuccessful.

It is apparently now trying to track down the buyers to try to recover the lost data.

The department has not been able to confirm the incident.

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