Question over school books

2008-09-07 00:00

Exercise books that carry the Education Department logo, along with a bold “Not for sale” sign, have ended up on sale at a local retail store.

The exercise books are being sold for R1 at a shop in Northdale.

The store owner told The Witness he legitimately bought between 4 000 and 5 000 of the exercise books for R3 000 from a salvage goods buyer.

The producer of the books is understood to be Indiza Infrastructure Solutions, which made a salvage claim on its insurance.

The same company is currently locked in legal battles with the department, apparently over payments, although the department declined to confirm this.

The Witness understands that a delivery truck carrying the exercise books overturned on the N2 near Ezingolweni on its way to deliver books to schools in the Port Shepstone area about four months ago.

Schools allegedly refused to take the “damaged” exercise books and the insurance company sold them to a salvage buyer.

An assessor declared them to be damaged and classed them as second-hand books.

However, the books on sale at the shop appear to be in a good condition and are not damaged in any way.

An assessor of salvaged goods, who did not want to be named, said such a practice is not uncommon in the insurance industry and is legitimate and legal.

Indiza received coverage in the media after being awarded a R350 million contract by the KZN Education Department for the delivery of stationery to schools in the province in 2005.

However, the company went to the media in 2006 claiming it had not been paid for its services.

The department then said the contract was awarded to a joint venture, Indiza Motswedi, but the invoices it received for payment reflected only one entity of the joint venture.

Making payments on those invoices would have been in breach of the Public Finance Management Act and Treasury Regulations.

Indiza boss Jabulani Mabaso was later in trouble for his alleged failure to divulge a R43 million payment to the SA Revenue Services (SARS) in 2007.

It was reported that after making the claim of R350 million, Indiza was paid a further R43 million for value-added tax (VAT), which was never declared to SARS.

The KZN Education Department declined to answer whether it is aware of the sale of the exercise books.

It would only say that “anything to do with Indiza is sub judice” as it is embroiled in legal action with Indiza.

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