One South Africa (OSA) leader Mmusi Maimane has demanded that Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi account for the R430-million that was spent in Gauteng to decontaminate, disinfect, and deep-clean schools.
Maimane said that if Lesufi doesn’t publicly provide answers within 24 hours, OSA will launch a bid to access the information through a Public Access to Information Act (PAIA) application.
“We call upon the MEC for Education in Gauteng, Mr Panyaza Lesufi to publicly provide answers to the following questions within the next 24 hours.
“Failure to do that will indicate an unwillingness to account to the public and will lead to OSA pursuing access to this information through the instrument of Public Access to Information Act (PAIA),” said Maimane.
This follows an investigation by the Daily Maverick, which led to a report by the department revealing excessive expenditure by the provincial department for the said project.
Lesufi said that he was totally shocked about the allegations and that he was not aware of such an amount spent on the project by the department. He also said that an investigation is being launched.
Lesufi said the department is consulting relevant law-enforcement agencies, including the Auditor-General of South Africa, to confirm if there was indeed value for the money used for the project.
“I wish to reaffirm my commitment to leave no stone unturned on this including holding those who procured these services accountable,” said Lesufi.
Maimane said that the money should have been rightly used to fix all the schools that need running water and proper sanitation.
“The money should have been rightly used to fix broken toilets, eradicate pit toilets and provide running water to all schools. It is saddening that it instead found its way into the hands of politically connected tenderpreneurs,” said Maimane.
Lesufi said that they spent almost more than R500 million to fix all township schools’ toilets and the eradication of pit toilets in Gauteng, and that during that period he was also acting MEC for Social Development. He assured Maimane that he tried to the best of his ability to provide oversight support to both departments.
“I led the task to reopen schools and ensure that everything is done properly. In all those meetings I introduced to the team that it should be safe first before reopening schools. We needed to protect our staff and learners.
“Neither my family, relatives, friends, and my immediate political friends participate in deals within the department. Every year we are compelled by law to disclose details of family members working for the dept (sic) or won tenders in the dept,” said Lesufi when responding to some of the questions asked by Maimane.