The IFP, as the Official Opposition in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, calls upon the KZN MEC for Education, Mbali Frazer, to release the findings of the investigation into the irregular procurement of ferry boats worth more than R2 million. These boats which were bought by the KZN Department of Education in 2017, allegedly to provide transport for pupils who cross rivers to and from school.
The former Head of Department allegedly instituted an independent investigation into the circumstances that led to the procurement of these boats. However, unsurprisingly, to date, no one has been held accountable. Further, the report for the investigation was never made public.
The question is: who is being protected?
Last month, the MEC and the HoD told SCOPA that the Department was now consulting other departments, including Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) for the possible transfer of the boats. According to the Department, if they were taken over by COGTA, they would be used when carrying out rescue missions in the event of disasters, such as the recent floods, or in tourism-related activities by EDTEA.
The IFP demands that heads must roll in this matter.
The former KZN MEC for Education, Kwazi Mshengu, revealed that the boats are being stored at the Sharks Board in Durban, unused. It appears that no feasibility study was conducted during the procurement process, or before the purchase of these boats. Therefore, the budget required for staff, as well as the maintenance of boats, was not considered. The Department then concluded – after the purchase – that the boats could not be utilised by the Department for the transportation of learners.
Those who bought the boats must account for what happened.
This is fruitless and wasteful expenditure of public funds. Such a significant amount could certainly have been better used – possibly to employ more security guards at schools, or to provide learner transport. We are convinced that corruption is involved. The time has come to act decisively against individuals that are responsible for the collapse of service delivery, due to the maladministration of public funds.
Mrs Thembeni Madlopha-Mthethwa MPL
IFP Chief Whip in the KZN Legislature and IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson for Education
071 884 3844 / 079 114 3015