KZN Education chief cleared

2010-06-16 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Education Department superintendent-general Cassius Lubisi has been cleared of corruption charges after the findings of a forensic report on alleged irregular activities within the department were disclosed yesterday.

The forensic report, by a consortium of auditors, Ngubane and Associates, was requested by MEC for Education Senzo Mchunu shortly after teachers’ union Sadtu levelled allegation of corruption against top-level officials in management in 2009.

One of the allegations involved corruption linked to the department’s uMlazi District that was said to total more than R80 million.

At a media briefing in Durban, ­Mchunu said there was no evidence to suggest that Lubisi was guilty of the corruption he was accused of.

Lubisi would not comment on the report, but said he will issue a statement later.

When Mchunu announced the inquiry into the allegation in September last year, he encouraged members of the public to make submissions relating to corruption in the department.

“In 2009, Sadtu made allegations to the effect that top management were corrupt. In line with government resolve on corruption, we decided to investigate all allegations made,” he said.

Mchunu said the forensic investigation included allegations of corruption relating to pupils’ transport, cleaning and security services in uMlazi, irregular approval of travel claims and irregular appointment of certain service providers.

Other allegations were of illegal procedures in the procurement of beds and mattresses for the Newcastle School of Industries — a school for children with problems with the law — and of irregular expenditure at ­uMgungundlovu FET College.

“All other allegations, complaints and queries relating to human resources issues were referred to the Public Service Commission for their investigation, recommendation and advice,” he said.

The MEC said that they have consulted a legal team and are considering disciplinary action and criminal charges against those officials named in the report.

He would not reveal names of the guilty officials. None of the officials has been suspended.

The department will now undertake a range of measures to eradicate corruption.

The measures will include disciplinary action against officials, serious consideration of criminal charges in specific cases and reviewing of certain practices in procuring services.

“The findings on focus areas and beyond are varied and clear. Having studied the report carefully and considered legal opinion, it is clear that a range of measures needs to be taken,” Mchunu said.

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