EFF calls for removal of Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi
The EFF has called for the removal of Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi following allegations he attempted to meddle in tender processes at his department.
The City Press reported on Sunday that Lusufi had been recorded in a meeting appearing to promise to fix tender issues experienced by certain people. The meeting where the recording took place was held in Tshwane, the newspaper said.
The EFF has now called for his removal as MEC saying he had behaved in a "thuggish" manner.
"As the EFF we are not surprised by the thuggery of Panyaza Lusufi, who behaves like a cowboy every time there are matters confronting basic education sector in Gauteng - yet fundamentally resolves nothing," the party said on Sunday.
"Lesufi thrives on pretending to work for public relations purposes while lining his own pockets and allowing private institutions in the sector to be a law upon themselves."
Lesufi had recently been embroiled in a scandal where his department had spent R430-million in three months to decontaminate, disinfect, deep clean and sanitize schools in the province.
In a statement issued on Sunday afternoon, Lesufi said forces were clearly at play aimed at tarnishing his image.
“I am fully aware that there are forces at play who want to assassinate my character for political expediency. Unfortunately in a democratic society, the accuser doesn’t have to prove their allegations but the accused must prove their innocence. I have no control over these faceless elements, but I will not be deterred to continue with my work to ensure quality education for all is realised” Lesufi said.
Lesufi's office said there was no "secret meeting" and that the MEC was invited by Sanco as part of a community meeting. His office said the community of Soshanguve had grown concerned after a school had gone months without electricity because of a tender dispute.
"Local contractors stopped the project to repair the electricity problem and demanded that they be appointed to carry out the work at the school. The same (local) contractors further stopped Bidvest to clean schools around the area, which was a donation.
"At the community meeting, attended by School Governing Bodies (SGB’s), Learner Formations, Business Forums, School Principals and community formations such as CPF’s, the MEC explained how contracts were advertised and adjudicated in government in general. For the record, this meeting took place in May 2020.
"It was after this meeting that the electricity of the school was restored and the repairs were allowed to proceed. Based on the above, the allegation that this was a secret meeting is baseless and unfounded," Lesufi's office said.