MEC rebuffs AG report in awarding contracts in contravention of the law

By Khume Ramulifho MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education:

Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, has rejected the Auditor General’s (AG) 2014/15 report finding that the department awarded tenders for goods and services above R500 000 without inviting competitive bids as required by law.

The AG found that the Department acted in contravention of National Treasury Regulations as well as the Preferential Procurement Regulations. Contracts were awarded to suppliers without tax clearance certificates.

However, MEC Lesufi states otherwise in his reply to a DA question on said contracts. The MEC indicated that the department was under pressure and did not want to hamper service delivery.

(Click here to view the reply)

Service delivery at the expense of due process and regulations does not justify the MECs response, and it will open the doors to corruption.

The contracts were for:

  • Repairs to a school damaged in an act of nature;
  • The scholar transport tender which was challenged in court;
  • Maintenance of e-labs;
  • The asset management system;
  • School nutrition; and
  • Supply of school furniture.

The abovementioned contracts were not listed in the reply by the MEC, only school nutrition, asset management and scholar transport appeared on the list of awardees. This begs the question as to why the MEC would allow his department to conduct business in contravention of the law.

Questions cannot continue to go unanswered when at all cost the executive must protect and uphold the law in which the MEC has taken the oath of office.

The DA will probe this matter further when the MEC appears before the committee to present the department’s annual report and clarifies all financial irregularities identified by the AG – and recommend remedial action.