The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has filed a complaint with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane against Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
According to its press release on Wednesday, IRR wants Mkhwebane to investigate “possible inefficient expenditure and maladministration” at Lesufi’s department.
The complaint relates to three issues – launch of a website, alleged R1.2 billion irregular expenditure, and the recent rollout of the Gauteng school placement system.
Quality of website
IRR questioned the quality of gdecontent.co.za, a website which provides access to new online curriculum lessons to Gauteng learners.
The Institute claimed an analysis had “found several shortcomings, indicating substandard development and creating a strong suspicion of inefficient expenditure and maladministration of resources.”
IRR also cited reports in late October that Lesufi’s department had allegedly incurred R1.2 billion in irregular expenditure in the 2018/2019 financial year.
It said, “Citizens deserve a thorough investigation into the allegations of irregular expenditure by the Gauteng Department of Education, even if Mr Lesufi is right in his laid-back defence that the more accurate figure of his department’s irregular expenditure in 2018/2019 was in the hundreds of millions of rands and not over a billion.”
It also slammed Lesufi’s department’s alleged failure to “ensure the effective and satisfactory placement of children at schools for the year 2020.”
“The IRR is concerned that the continued maladministration of education in Gauteng – South Africa’s richest province and the heart of the country’s economy – will severely affect the life chances of the province’s children,” IRR said.
The Institute continued to take aim at the MEC on Twitter, writing, “Panyaza Lesufi cares more about vanity projects, flags, and apartheid than about your children’s futures.”
Lesufi has not yet reacted to the IRR’s complaint. However, in recent Twitter replies to AfriForum’s Kallie Kriel, he sought to clarify reports of irregular expenditure.
He wrote, “No money was wasted or stolen. We presented reasons at Scopa today and clarified matters. Our irregular expenditure for the current year is R202m and this was mainly due to the misunderstanding on translation of transfers to our agencies.”
In another tweet, Lesufi said, “For the record, the department received an unqualified audit outcome consistently in the last 5 years.”