Lawyers called in over officials implicated in school sanitising scandal

Despite Gauteng MEC Panyaza Lesufi promising 'heads will roll', the department has turned to lawyers to work out how to implement SIU recommendations

Graeme Hosken Senior reporter
The Gauteng education department has received a preliminary report from the SIU after its lengthy probe into inflated costs for cleaning contaminated schools. File photo.
The Gauteng education department has received a preliminary report from the SIU after its lengthy probe into inflated costs for cleaning contaminated schools. File photo.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

The Gauteng education department has turned to lawyers to figure out exactly how to implement recommendations from the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on its officials implicated in a R431m Covid-19 school decontamination scandal.

The department on Monday received a preliminary report from the SIU after its lengthy investigation into inflated costs for cleaning contaminated schools in the province.

While Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Tuesday told eNCA that “heads will roll” within 23 hours, on Wednesday the department said that it had consulted lawyers about the report.

Spokesperson Steve Mabona said in a brief statement: “The department wishes to confirm that it has received an independent legal advisory report on how best to implement the SIU’s recommendations on the illicit school decontamination project after a meeting held with the SIU.

“Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi is also in consultation with all affected stakeholders with regards to the advisory report.

“It is important to note that, upon conclusion of the ongoing consultation process, the department will in due course release an appropriate statement on necessary action taken in implementing the SIU findings accordingly.”

He declined to take questions on who the stakeholders were or how many department officials had been implicated in the SIU’s preliminary report.

On Tuesday, Lesufi told eNCA that under Covid-19 lots of regulations had been changed and that normal oversight processes were disturbed as people embarked on emergency procurement.

“The SIU has concluded a critical component [of the investigation]. They have given us a report. I can assure you that in the next 23 hours we will make an announcement.

“We have received the preliminary report and the SIU have given us the go-ahead on the action that we need to take. We need to also protect them [SIU] as they will be witnesses. Heads will roll on our side.”

TimesLIVE


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