Mpumalanga education head suspended on allegations of maladministration

Financial report papers
Financial report papers
Image: 123rf/imilian

The head of the department of education in Mpumalanga, Mahlasedi Mhlabane, has been suspended on allegations of maladministration.

The office of premier Refilwe Mtsweni yesterday confirmed that Mhlabane has been suspended on allegations relating to funds allocation.

 Mtsweni’s office, however, would not give more details on the suspension.

“We cannot say much at this stage other than to confirm that indeed the HOD has been suspended pending an investigation into  allegations relating to the allocation of funds, which upon inquiry,  was not clear how the funds were utilised,” said spokesperson for the premier’s office Zibonele Mncwango.

Mhlabane was suspended last weekend while Mtsweni and a delegation from the province were on a state visit to Russia.

According to sources within the department,  the allegations are related to multi-million rand contracts for the school feeding scheme

The department is also embroiled in civil suits amounting to over R100m, after contractors took the province to court over the cancellation of  their contracts.

One of the contractors, who didn’t want to be named for fear of victimisation, said: “We decided to take the department to court because we had a three-year contract  to supply food for school feeding scheme.

“But all of a sudden last year, we were told that our contracts have been cancelled and that we have been replaced by companies that didn’t even bid for the tender.

“It’s clear they removed our companies in favour of companies that are owned by their friends.”