DA wants Gauteng govt to make public SIU report on R431m school sanitisation tender

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A worker sanitises desks in a classroom.
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  • According to the DA, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi needs to release details around the SIU probe on sanitisation of schools, for transparency.
  • The party said Lesufi was delaying justice for children who were without resources. 
  • The SIU is probing the irregular awarding of tenders for school decontamination, which cost Gauteng's education department R431 million.

Pressure keeps mounting on the Gauteng Department of Education to release a report it received from the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) following a probe into the R431 million spent on decontamination of schools last year.

The DA in the province has reiterated its call for the department to make the report public. However, the department said it was busy consulting affected stakeholders.

According to the DA, MEC Panyaza Lesufi had delayed making the report public and was delaying justice for school children who were without resources. 

Gauteng DA spokesperson on education Khume Ramulifho said Lesufi releasing the report would ensure transparency and accountability in dealing with the people implicated in it.

"The public has a right to know what happened to more than R431 million of taxpayers' money which was wasted on decontamination of schools within three months. 

READ | SIU recommends disciplinary process against Gauteng education officials

"This money could have been used to improve the learning and teaching environment such as building more schools to reduce overcrowding, eradication of asbestos schools, and upgrading security features to safeguard schools assets," Ramulifho said.

The R431 million was for decontamination, disinfecting, deep cleaning and sanitisation of schools and offices. 

The department earlier this week announced that it received an independent legal advisory report on how to best implement SIU recommendations following a meeting with it on Monday, News24 reported.

"It is important to note that, upon conclusion of the process, the department will in due course release an appropriate statement on necessary actions to be taken in implementing the findings,"  said the department's spokesperson Steve Mabona. 

READ | Digital vibes: Inside SIU's case against Mkhize - ignoring Cabinet resolutions, processes manipulated

Meanwhile the DA has written questions to Lesufi asking that he releases more details on the probe, including the names of companies that were awarded tenders. 

The party said Magic Engineers was a company among 173 service providers that was appointed to decontaminate schools. 

Decontaminate

The company had been doing work since the 2014/15 financial year and was paid more than R18 million to decontaminate 65 schools.

According to Ramulifho, Lesufi, in a written reply to questions tabled to him at the legislature, had revealed that the decontamination rate per school was around R285 300.

The member of legislature said this amount was "ridiculous" and a waste of public funds. 

READ | 'Evidence pointing to criminal action' - SIU says Mkhize can still be charged for Digital Vibes saga

"This is by far more than what the department spent which was R15 000 per school when schools were reopened after hard lockdown," Ramulifho said. 

Ramulifho added: "Magic Engineers and many other companies implicated as well as identified officials must be investigated, while the recovery of the wasted money is imperative.

"We have also tabled written questions to the MEC to provide us with the details of this tender which includes the names of the companies that were awarded this tender and monies paid to them." 

The DA said it would continue demanding the report to be made public so it could monitor the recommendations implementation processes to ensure those implicated were brought to book and the money owed recovered.

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