MEC Lesufi is delaying justice for children without much-needed resources by not making SIU preliminary report public

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is reiterating its demands for the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) MEC Panyaza Lesufi to make public the Special Investigative Unit’s (SIU) preliminary report on decontamination of Gauteng schools to ensure transparency and accountability in dealing with those implicated.

MEC Lesufi received the SIU’s preliminary report last month and to date, he has not yet responded to our demands to make it public.

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. 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.

We need to be informed about all the recommendations that have been suggested by the SIU and the progress that the department has made so far in implementing them.

Furthermore, Magic Engineers is among 173 service providers that were appointed to decontaminate Gauteng schools. This company which has been doing work for the department since the 2014/15 financial year was paid over R18 million to decontaminate 65 schools. The decontamination rate per school was about R285 300,00 – a ridiculous and a total waste of public coffers. This is by far more than what the department spent which was R15000 per school when schools were reopened after hard lockdown.

This was revealed by MEC Lesufi in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

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. We also demand the names of the officials implicated and the progress report on the implementation of the SIU preliminary report recommendations.

The DA will continue to demand the SIU preliminary report to be made public to monitor the progress of the implementation of the recommendations to ensure that those who are implicated are brought to book and they pay back every cent owed to the education of our children.

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