Learners suffer overcrowded classrooms because of wasted millions on school decontamination

Thousands of children are being taught in overcrowded classrooms yet the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) is failing to recover over R430 million wasted on the decontamination of schools.

This money could be used in ensuring that our learners are taught in a conducive learning environment where their educational development can be nurtured.

The Gauteng Department of Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi must use the Special Investigative Unit’s (SIU) investigation progress report as evidence to suspend the department’s top officials.

This follows the recent announcement by the SIU that they have been granted a preservation order to freeze seven more accounts of service providers appointed to decontaminate Gauteng schools.

The DA has already called on MEC Lesufi to suspend the department’s Head of Department (HOD), Edward Mosuwe, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Johan van Coller and Supply Chain Management Chief Director, Samora Mhlophe.

This was after the SIU released report findings indicating that 173 service providers appointed to decontaminate Gauteng schools were not accredited and not on the Central Supplier Database.

It is strange that MEC Lesufi has not yet acted on these top officials considering that the department irregularly spent more than R431 million on the decontamination of schools within three months.

The SIU’s job is enough to compel MEC Lesufi to take action.

The progress made so far by the SIU is commendable and we believe that the recovered money can also go a long way to eradicate asbestos schools.

This will ensure that no child will have their health put in danger while trying to achieve an education.

The SIU has been granted a second order to freeze bank accounts of seven companies with the sum of R22.4 million.

This is an addition to the 14 accounts of service providers that were frozen with the sum of R40.7 million.

In total so far, the bank accounts of 21 companies have been frozen, and about R63.1 million can be recovered.

The good work done so far by the SIU will be in vain if the HOD, CFO and the Supply Chain Management Chief Director are not held accountable for failing to adequately review and monitor compliance in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act and treasury regulations.

It is high time that these officials face the consequences of their irresponsible actions that costed the ability of our children to be taught in a conducive learning environment.

The DA will not let MEC Lesufi sweep this matter under the rug.

We will continue to hound him to suspend the officials responsible for this wasteful expenditure, as well as recover the wasted money.

This money could be used to build new classrooms and eradicate asbestos schools , so that children from across the province can have a suitable environment to learn and grow.

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