(File photo) Photo: Itumeleng English

Johannesburg - A R120 million tender for school textbooks in Mpumalanga was unlawfully awarded to controversial company EduSolutions, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

“Documented information in our possession shows that EduSolutions has been awarded a multi-million rand tender for the supply and distribution of learner teacher supply materials, including textbooks in Mpumalanga,” DA MPL Anthony Benadie said in a statement.

Provincial education spokesman Jasper Zwane said the department would look into the DA's claims and “respond accordingly”.

Benadie said: “According to our information, it is clear that the supply chain division in the Mpumalanga education department received and captured an EduSolutions tender document, nearly a month before the bid committee awarded the contract.”

He said the party was “reliably informed” that EduSolutions would be paid a percentage of the funds saved by the department through discounts from book suppliers.

“This means that EduSolutions is pocketing millions of rands which the department could otherwise have used to employ more teachers or provide equipment to schools.

“Strangely, the Mpumalanga education department is also paying EduSolutions an additional 15 percent over and above the cost of 'non-discounted' items.”

The party would submit questions to Mpumalanga education MEC Regina Mhaule, asking her to explain all payments to EduSolutions.

The company was also involved in the Limpopo textbook saga. Pupils at schools in the province had not received new textbooks since the start of the school year.

The City Press reported on Sunday that former Vlakplaas commander Dirk Coetzee, who worked as a security consultant for EduSolutions, revealed how the company hid tens of thousands textbooks in its Gauteng warehouse four years ago.

He claimed he personally introduced the company's founder, Shaun Battleman, to President Jacob Zuma, and that Battleman's business relationship with a former department director guaranteed him large government contracts. - Sapa