Schools minister ‘could be fired’

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Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga could face the axe over the bungled textbook delivery to Limpopo schools, according to media reports yesterday.

At its policy conference last week, the ANC agreed action should be taken against underperforming civil servants, the Sunday Independent reported.

“If one of us is underperforming as a public servant, regardless of what level we are at, then we need to act,” ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa told the paper.

Delegates had reportedly called for Motshekga’s head.

“They went for the minister viciously. They savaged her. They said we must not have this thing happening,” Phosa said.

They had agreed that “no one can be protected any longer by the government or by their position”, Phosa was quoted as saying.

He could not say whether Motshekga would be fired.

City Press reported that Motshekga and the Presidency had been informed of problems with the tender for delivering textbooks to Limpopo, which was won by EduSolutions.

In January last year, Solly Tshitangano, former acting chief financial officer of the Limpopo Education Department, approached the Presidency with his concern over the tender.

An official responded months later, saying Tshitangano’s information was receiving attention.

In June last year, Tshitangano sent Motshekga’s office detailed evidence of the problems with EduSolutions.

The Presidency confirmed to City Press it had received Tshitangano’s dossier and said it had referred the matter to Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale’s office for investigation in September.

EduSolutions insisted to the paper that its contract for textbook delivery was valid.

It said it was pursuing litigation against the government for money owed to it after the cancelled contract, City Press reported.

However, according to an opinion obtained by the State from advocate Pat Ellis in January, the contract was “neither fair, equitable, transparent, competitive nor cost effective”.

The contract was open to constitutional challenge as it did not comply with public finance management laws.

In an interview on Talk Radio 702 this week, Motshekga denied knowing Tshitangano.

However, yesterday the newspaper Rapport cited an e-mail, dated July 5, 2011, in which Motshekga’s office thanks him for his evidence and says the matter is “receiving attention”. – Sapa


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