KWAZULU NATAL LEGISLATURE BUDGET SITTING DEBATE ON VOTE 5 – EDUCATION SPECIAL ADJUSTMENT BUDGET THURSDAY 17 SEPTEMBER 2020 : PIETERMARITZBURG HON MNTOMUHLE B KHAWULA – IFP

Hon Speaker

Hon Members

Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the President of the IFP, Hon VF Hlabisa, the President Emeritus Hon Prince M Buthelezi, and the entire IFP family, I want to kick-start by expressing the IFPs sincere gratitude to all Educators of our province and the entire education sector for bearing the brunt and exposing themselves into the dangers of contracting Coronavirus in their service to the nation. Our educators are indeed one of the crucial frontline staff who need to be commended for their bravery. The IFP also expresses gratitude to all community organisations, NGOs and NPOs, Teacher Unions, Parents’ associations and all other people of goodwill, public and private companies, that assisted in ensuring that the wheels of our education system continue to operate in the midst of Covid-19.

Hon Speaker, this Hon House has to approve these budget adjustments whilst the money we are talking about, a large portion of it, is already in the pockets of criminals and thieves. The GDP of our country has contracted by 51% in the second quarter of 2020 due to Covid-19. But even under these circumstances, the country has had to contend with opportunists who have no regard at all for country, justice, the rule of law and good governance, but are only concerned with positioning themselves for more riches, using the misery of Covid-19 as their advantage. This is very inhuman, insensitive and board against the spirit of Ubuntu.

Under these circumstances, this ANC government has failed the people of our province. It is this government which has sold out the plight of the citizens of our province to enrich the opportunists who were posing and are still posing as service providers. This government has failed to perform the most important task of a government in office, the protection of the public purse.

The budget allocation which is being appropriated today is R57 729 billion. The IFP supports this allocation with a strong warning to MEC Mshengu; Please take good care of the finances of our people in education. This is not lucky pocket gifts to be handed over to friends and allies. It is meagre financial hardships of our people meant to improve the lives and conditions of our nation through education.

Already, the AG has reported enormous challenges and irregularities relating to the spending of some of this money by education authorities in the province. The findings reveal, amongst other things, that:

  • The department has failed to comply with disaster period guidelines to procurement in a number of ways.When this looting and free for all tendency into the Covid-19 funds escalated, the IFP Caucus conducted its own investigation into these irregularities, and this is what transpired, as examples:
  • A company registered with a physical address on CIPC database as : 419 Nhlekane street, Imbali Unit 2, Pmb, 3219. Our investigation found that there is no such street in Imbali. But the company was awarded PPE work by this department. This company called Njiki Yesizwe Projects was almost deregistered by CIPC in 2019, which happens when a company is dormant. The company has one Director by the name of Thembisile Ottilia Hlengwa born in 1961.
  • Yet, this company with this suspicious existence of having been quickly dusted off the shelf, was awarded a contract to supply 8656 containers of 25litre sanitizers at an amount of R37 870, 74 million with a unit prize of R4375 per 25litre.
  • Another company called Promed was also awarded a contract to supply 6300 containers of 25litre sanitizers at a unit prize of R4370 per 25litre container and was paid a total of R27 530 498, 83.
  • The IFP investigation wrote to Promed for a bulk quotation of 25litre sanitizers and Promed quoted us at R950 per 25litre container, the same one that they charged education at R4370 per 25litre container.
  • The IFP Caucus further conducted an investigation on a company called Logan Medical and Surgical Pty Ltd. The company received more than R122 million in tenders from education. We asked for quotations on few items:
  • Logan gave us a quotation of R32 for 500ml sanitizer/disinfectant, which education bought at R69.57 each and paid R16 975 080 for 244 000 containers. The department could have spent only R7,8 million and saved R9 million if they bought at normal price.Logan gave us a quotation of R260 for 5litre container of sanitizer which the department bought at R726.09 per container and paid R88 582 90 million for 122 000 containers. The department could have bought at R31.7 million and saved R56.3 million if these were purchased at normal price.

Hon MEC, obviously, prizes were inflated. Obviously, your department never bothered to use the muscle buying power of the numbers of schools in the province to the advantage of the department in order to buy these PPEs at normal and reasonable prizes. God knows who benefitted at the middle of this extra-ordinary exchange.

Another province in the country, with very limited numbers of schools as compared to KZN, was able to buy same 25litre sanitizers at a unit prize of around R900 each that your department MEC, purchased at R4370. Also, the story of the Jojo tanks MEC still remains a mystery between your department and Rand Water. We still want to know whether your department paid R28 000 per Jojo tank as stipulated in your department media statement of 18 June. The education HOD is now ducking and diving, playing hide and seek with facts relating to this matter. Kodwa lona ibheshu sizoliphenya.

Whilst Black People today around the world are chanting the popular phrase “We can’t breathe”, because of racism, in KwaZulu Natal we are chanting “We can’t breathe” because corruption is chocking us.

I thank you.