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Senior Gauteng education officials charged over R431m decontamination tender

empty school classroom
Picture: Pexels (Pavel Danilyuk)

By Kaya 959 Reporter

Three Gauteng Department of Education officials have been charged in connection with a multi-million rand school decontamination tender.

The department said the charges come after recommendations made by the Special Investigating Unit’s report on the use of funding for the decontamination and cleaning of Gauteng schools.

The tender was believed to be valued at R431 million.

GDE MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the department has taken action following the referral by the SIU and the analysis of the evidence.

“It has been recommended that the Head of Supply Chain, Chief Director for Infrastructure Development and Acting Director for Auxiliary Services be charged in accordance with the findings in the investigation report,” he said.

Lesufi said the investigations are ongoing and he could not rule out the possibility of others being charged.

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DA calls for report findings to be released

He said it is important to note that the department intends for the investigation process to be facilitated by an independent body outside the department. The department has approached the Office of the State Attorney to assist in appointing a senior official to preside over this matter.

“Subsequently, an experienced advocate has been appointed in that regard, and hearings are set to begin from 5 October. We remain grateful to the SIU for the work done thus far and we are committed to co-operate with them,” he said.

He said while he did not want to pre-judge the outcome of the disciplinary hearing, it was important to note that the officials who caused this expenditure cannot escape censure.

Lesufi has meanwhile come under fire from the DA for failing to release the findings of the report, which he received earlier this month.

The DA’s spokesperson on Education Khume Ramulifho said the public had a right to know what happened to their money.

“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 school assets,” Ramulifho said.

Lesufi said he will release the report in due course.

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