'I DID NOT REJECT OFFER TO BUILD TWO SCHOOLS'
FORMER Mpumalanga education head Ray Tywakadi has refuted a Sowetan report that he turned down a Vodacom offer to rebuild two schools demolished to make way for the 2010 World Cup Mbombela Stadium.
Tywakadi said he had in fact accepted the offer, and in a letter he had also sent to then Department of Education director-general Duncan Hindle, had told Vodacom that the company could rebuild John Mdluli Primary and Cyril Clark Secondary schools at Mataffin outside Nelspruit.
He said it was his predecessor Tsakane Ngomane who had rejected the Vodacom offer.
The letter, dated April 30 2009 and signed by Tywakadi, reads in part: "This serves to confirm that the Mpumalanga provincial department of education accepts the Vodacom offer for a partnership on schools development and schools building.
"The department also confirms that R7,5million has been set aside for this partnership."
The two schools were demolished to make way for the recently completed stadium. After they were demolished, Vodacom approached the national Education Department and expressed interest in a school building partnership project with the province - an offer that was turned down.
Tywakadi, then head of department, insists it was not him who turned down the offer but Ngomane.
"Rejecting an offer of this magnitude in a deprived province like Mpumalanga is not only an act of insensitivity but a miscarriage of justice," Tywakadi said.
Tywakadi said on April 28 this year, the national Education Department convened a meeting with the province and Vodacom to convey the offer. "I represented the Mpumalanga government in this meeting and accepted the offer on behalf of the province.
"The meeting agreed that Mpumalanga would confirm this acceptance in writing and on April 30 I wrote the acceptance letter to Hindle, to accept the offer.
"I then left Mpumalanga on April 30 because my contract had expired," said Tywakadi.
He said on receipt of the acceptance letter from himself, Vodacom approved funding for theproject in May this year.
"I had long left Mpumalanga when Vodacom approved this funding," he said.