Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education:
The DA is highly concerned over the Gauteng Education Department’s continued refusal to fully disclose forensic reports into financial irregularities at 159 schools in the province.
Two months ago the DA launched an application in terms of the Public Access to Information Act (PAIA) requesting the reports which MEC Lesufi has been refusing to make public for months.
The department’s refusal to release the report is on the basis of protecting the identity of third parties is concerning.
While the DA appreciates the department’s concern for whistle-blowers, we maintain that it is in the public interest, especially those of parents and teachers at affected schools, to study the contents of these reports.
Fraud and corruption, if left unchecked, will have a severe impact on the quality of life and education of our province’s youth, and parents have the right to make informed choices about where their children should be educated.
By refusing to divulge the contents of forensic reports into fraud and corruption for spurious reasons, the department opens itself to criticism and the public perception that it is not serious about fraud and corruption in our schools.
To this end, the DA will appeal the department’s interest, noting that the public interest overrides the department’s concerns – and that all names of confidential informants be removed from the reports, and to disclose the reports to us.
The DA will continue to fight for transparency and will go to every length to expose wrongdoing in Gauteng’s schools.