Cape Town - The DA in North West wants Education and Sports Development MEC Sello Lehari to explain the participation of 77 schools in the province in a competition linked to the Gupta family. The party wants to know how this was allowed to take place without the approval of the Education Department's head.
The schools' involvement in the drawing competition sponsored by Gupta-linked JIC Mining Company came to light when Lehari and HOD Stephinah Semaswe appeared before the Portfolio Committee for Home Affairs' inquiry into the naturalisation of the controversial family.
"The MEC needs to explain how it came about that the Gupta family infiltrated the North West Department of Education to the extent that even schools have been pulled into their web of corruption," said Dr Tutu Faleni, the DA's provincial spokesperson for education.
"The DA would like to know the names of the schools, as well as the means by which they have been approached to participate in this competition."
MPs were told that JIC Mining Company awarded cash prizes to learners who competed to design wedding invitations for Gupta niece Vega’s highly-publicised wedding at Sun City in 2013.
The DA has written to Lehari requesting him to urgently table a report on the drawing competition as the party believes "it is in the interest of the public to know whether the School Governing Bodies and parents of the 77 schools have granted consent for learners to participate in the competition sponsored by the JIC Mining company".
The DA says it will lodge a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application if Lehari's department fails to table the report within 30 days.