tablets in irregular R538m contract

Image via: ER Lombard / Gallo

Matrics ‘threatened with charges’ over irregular R538m tablet contract

A court interdict stopped the EC Education Department from implementing the R538 million contract. The tablets must still be returned.

tablets in irregular R538m contract

Image via: ER Lombard / Gallo

The Eastern Cape Education Department’s woes are deepening, as they are still trying to get back thousands of tablets that were distributed to Grade 12 learners under the irregular Sizwe Africa IT contract, now valued at more than R538 million.

This, according to Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow MEC for Education in the Eastern Cape, Yusuf Cassim.


In a statement on Wednesday, 21 April, Cassim said the tablets should have been retrieved from learners in October 2020.

Last year a court interdict was handed down to immediately stop the Eastern Cape Education Department from implementing the controversial R538 million contract, between the Sizwe Africa IT Group, MTN and the Education Department.

The tablets were reportedly already distributed and in use by matriculants when the court interdict came into effect.

“These tablets should have been retrieved from learners in October last year, following the court interdict, when the learners were still at school, but now they have created a mess,” said Cassim.


Cassim claims the Eastern Cape Education Department is now threatening learners who have missed the mid-April cut-off date to return the tablets, with instituting criminal procedures.

“Instead of issuing the class of 2020 matric certificates, the department is hell-bent on giving them criminal records, over tablets that never actually worked in the first place. When the contract was suspended and the department’s appeal was unsuccessful, in October last year, the Department should have immediately taken action to recall the tablets in line with the court decision.”

In response to a parliamentary question, MEC Fundile Gade reportedly said the Education Department only started recalling tablets in December.

“This is in blatant defiance of the court ruling. Ultimately, those responsible for creating this mess, should be held responsible. If anyone should be facing criminal charges, it is the officials that signed off on this bogus contract to redirect taxpayer funds to ANC connected cadres in the first place.

Education Department spokesperson Mali Mtima said on Thursday that he could not comment on the matter as “its before a court of law.”

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