Pricy door stoppers

2010-10-28 00:00

THE suspension of the uMgungundlovu Further Education and Training (FET) college rector Sipho Khuzwayo relates to alleged irregular procedures being followed in the procurement of certain goods at the college.

That was the response of the KZN Education Department to questions posed by The Witness following Khuzwayo’s suspension last week.

Department spokesperson Mbali Thusi would not say what these goods were, but The Witness has established that the goods included office equipment and machinery bought for the campus workshops.

A lecturer from one of the campuses has described as “hogwash” comments in yesterday’s article that suggested the charges against Khuzwayo are sabotage.

Another well-placed source at the college said it is not the first time that questions over money issues have been raised where Khuzwayo was concerned.

It is alleged that the department has previously investigated Khuzwayo after government funds were pumped into the FET colleges to upgrade machinery and college facilities.

According to insiders at the college, it is believed that the investigations were dropped after it was found that the amount of money involved was not enough to warrant prosecution.

The department has not confirmed this.

While auditors and special investigators are said to have come to the college’s five campuses, staffers claim nothing has come of it.

The lecturer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that since joining the FET more than a year ago, tenders have been awarded illegally whenever they have required either stationery or machinery for their work.

The source claims they usually phone suppliers to get prices for the equipment they require before putting in a requisition for that equipment.

While they claim to put the best quote on the requisition form, the invoices return to them after a tender has been awarded and prices have been inflated by as much as 400% and quality is often inferior.

“An example is an order of 600 6 mm washers or door stoppers that were ordered by one of the campuses.

“What should have been worth R4 000 ended up costing the college R22 500.”

Sticky fingers...

According to a source, exorbitant prices were allegedly being paid for office stationery. Examples are Pritt, which is being sold to the College at R250 per tube, and Tippex at R200 a bottle.

Five boxes of reams of printing paper, which is sold for about R180 at other retailers, is being invoiced to the colleges at R600.

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