29 November 2012

South Africa: Scopa - Limpopo Officials Can?t Answer for Education Failures

press release

Today, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) visited Limpopo to be briefed by the provincial departments of Public Works and Education on the financial mismanagement and procurement problems that contributed to the textbook crisis and other educational challenges in the province.

Provincial Public Works MEC Thabitha Mohlala and Education Head of Department Legodi Boshielo were unwilling, or perhaps unable, to answer my questions on:

• What caused the collapse in province's procurement processes?

• How the financial management system and planning system was allowed to reach a stage at which critical equipment, such as textbooks, could not be provided to schools?

• How tender irregularities contributed to a situation in which school buildings collapsed as a result of poor workmanship by Public Works contractors?

If the underlying causes of the Limpopo crisis are not addressed, the people of Limpopo are likely to see a repeat of the serious service delivery breakdowns experienced this year.

SCOPA members agreed that the Limpopo Departments of Education and Public Works must attend formal hearings at SCOPA early next year.

It is SCOPA's mandate to ensure that the people's money is managed properly and that public financial management systems are geared towards effective service delivery. It is therefore unacceptable that Limpopo officials could not provide the information that SCOPA needs to assess whether this is indeed happening.

We will use the 2013 hearings to demand answers.

Dion George, DA Spokesperson on Public Accounts

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