The administration of the Limpopo Education Department is “dysfunctional” and “rotten” – and because of a lack of leadership by its senior managers, it has ground to a halt.
A secret report lifts the lid on the bankrupt department, putting the blame squarely on a culture of nepotism – “family ties and friendships from the very top” – and clock-watching.
The 47-page report, which The Star has seen, was penned by the department’s former administrator, Dr Anis Karodia, and delivered to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) during its four-day fact-finding mission to Limpopo in March.
It was never made public.
The report called for the sacking of a host of senior managers, including head of department Morebudi Thamaga and chief financial officer Martin Mashaba, because the situation had “collapsed under their watch”.
Last year, the department ran up an unauthorised expenditure bill of R2.2 billion.
It went bankrupt in September. In December, after it failed to pay for textbooks for this year’s pupil intake, it was placed under administration by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Today, thousands of pupils are still without textbooks and learning material after the private company which won the R320 million tender, EduSolutions, failed to supply them.
Two forensic auditing companies have since found evidence of rampant maladministration, financial mismanagement, tender fraud and the looting of the department by various officials.
Karodia said some of the senior managers had neither the academic qualifications nor the necessary experience for their jobs.
He warned that if the government failed to replace most of the province’s senior managers with competent ones based on merit, then education in Limpopo could regress “to a point of no return… with the real possibility of immense turmoil, further collapse and the total loss of confidence by the public”.
Karodia’s report said some managers refused to understand that the provincial education department was technically bankrupt and felt its placing under administration was “completely unnecessary”.
As a result, they were in a “complete resistant mode” and even sabotaged the intervention team.
The report said the department had been crippled by a poor work ethic, nepotism and a lack of purpose among many senior provincial and district managers.
The public administration and management of the department had ground to a halt, with dysfunction the norm in the morass of decay and rot because of the lack of “supervision, oversight and leadership by senior managers”.
Limpopo Education Department spokesman Pat Kgomo confirmed the existence of Karodia’s report, but maintained its content was without any basis.
“The report was presented to the NCOP where the MEC (Dickson Masemola) and HOD were present. The MEC challenged the authenticity of the report and the unsubstantiated allegations presented by Dr Karodia,” Kgomo said.
The Star has learnt that Masemola and Karodia clashed over the report on the sidelines of that meeting, and subsequently fell out.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga removed Karodia from his position two months later.