Panyaza Lesufi Gauteng

Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi.
Photo: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

‘Poor monitoring’ led to Gauteng Education R430m saga – Lesufi

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi wants answers into the R430 million the department spent on sanitising and disinfecting schools, to curb the spread of COVID-19

Panyaza Lesufi Gauteng

Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi.
Photo: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has said that “poor monitoring” may have contributed to the Education Department spending R430 million to decontaminate, deep clean and sanitise schools, district offices and teacher centres.

In an interview with eNCA, Lesufi said he only found out about the suspected misspending when he was contacted by a journalist.

“I think it happened because we were really under pressure to monitor some of the transactions and also check if things were done correctly, but I must indicate that the journalist that was writing this story contacted me and requested information and also alerted me that the authorities were not cooperating, I immediately asked the HOD to compile a report,” he said.

Lesufi said he himself was taken aback after reading the report, which he handed to the journalist.

The report, compiled by the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Head of Department (HOD) found that the department spent about R431, 274, 959, 17.

“The amount was paid to about 280 companies between June and end of August and the extent of the school’s elemental spaces differed from facility to facility. The average school in Gauteng caters for 1,000 learners with a profile of 28 classrooms, administration building and specialist rooms,” read the report.

This was ahead of schools reopening in June 2020, after President Cyril Ramaphosa ordered them to be closed in March, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The disinfection involved 2,207 schools and 38 admin buildings, and the scope before school opening mainly involved deep cleaning, and from August as advised by department of health and the command council the focus was shifted from a whole school to a decreased specified area of contact per case,” the report further said.

Lesufi: Some people must account for R430 million bill

The MEC has ALSO said he will be consulting law enforcement agencies on the matter as it needed to be investigated thoroughly.

“The unfortunate part is, we stay far from these matters of procurement but if something goes wrong we are the first ones to be accused of neglecting our responsibilities,” Lesufi said.

Asked how much he thought the Gauteng Education Department should have actually spent, the MEC said he himself did not know.