The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Mpumalanga has requested the Public Protector to an investigation the possible corruption related to infrastructure projects within the provincial Department of Education.
This follows weeks of protests by parents of Matsamo Primary School in Schoemansdal village. Parents have raised concerns over the school’s outdated infrastructure which is now falling apart.
However, parents and community members forcefully shut down the school refusing for their children to be taught in a dangerous and unconducive environment and handed over a memorandum to the circuit manager, Mr Phillmon Shekwa.
The DA received a report from the Department which lists infrastructure projects for Ehlanzeni schools. Matsamo Primary School is listed as one of the projects in this report, to demolish 10 pit toilets and replace it with 28 flush toilets.
According to this report, the project started on 1 September 2019 and was completed on 28 February 2020. The final account was paid on 1 June 2020 and the total cost of the project was more than R2.6 million.
But, upon further engagement with parents and after being sent photos, it is evident that there are no flush toilets which have been built to date at the school.
“We also received information that an engineer from the Mpumalanga Department of Education submitted evidence that infrastructure projects that have been carried out at various schools in the province do not fit the scope of work in the infrastructure reports,” said DA.
Another school in Kabokweni, Entokozweni Primary School, which is listed in the same report as Matsamo Primary School, shows that the Department has not started this project budgeted at R2.4 million.
However, the DA has seen evidence which indicates that the project has in fact started with the cost of the project doubling to R4.8 million.
The DA urges the Office of the Public Protector to urgently investigate the Mpumalanga Department of Education as there is seemingly dishonesty at play related to these infrastructure projects.
“It is a disgrace that departmental officials are seemingly defrauding venerable learners who are in desperate need of conducive, safe and life-saving learning conditions,” said DA.