Public protector report on scandalous Mayibuye Primary School welcomed

The Gauteng department of education has welcomed the report by Public Protector advocate Kholeka Gcaleka titled “Mayibuye Formal Report”. Picture: Kamogelo Moichela/IOL

The Gauteng department of education has welcomed the report by Public Protector advocate Kholeka Gcaleka titled “Mayibuye Formal Report”. Picture: Kamogelo Moichela/IOL

Published Jul 8, 2024


While the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) has welcomed the report by Public Protector advocate Kholeka Gcaleka titled, “Mayibuye Formal Report” on the irregular conduct of functionaries of the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) and the GDE, Build One South Africa (Bosa) wants the R82 million recovered.

The report, dated June 28, probed irregularities over the construction of Mayibuye Primary School in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni.

On Monday, Build One South Africa (Bosa), said it had studied the report into the maladministration and impropriety of the Gauteng government in the construction of the school.

The report emanates from Bosa leader Mmusi Maimane’s complaint in 2020, discovering the school was built on a wetland, endangering the lives of learners and staff members, which showed carelessness from the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID).

Bosa member of the Gauteng provincial legislature, Ayanda Allie, has written a letter to the office of Premier Panyaza Lesufi, requesting he delegate a task force team to recover squashed funds meant to construct Mayibuye Primary School in Tembisa.

Allie’s letter follows insidious revelations by the public protector’s office of corruption and malpractice that occurred in the construction of the school, which had spanned seven years and cost close to R82 million.

Allie cited that Lesufi’s task force will aid in recovering missing funds that had been sourced from taxpayers, and officials found in scrupulous conduct shall be held accountable. However, with due diligence from Lesufi’s office.

“We are of the view that the remedial action is flimsy and deficient and illustrates how far this matter is away from being settled. All effort must be made to recover the funds spent otherwise shady contractors and compromised government employees get away scot-free,” said Allie.

In addition, she pointed out that Lesufi, who was the MEC for education during construction is responsible for the irregularities and mishaps leading to delays in the building of the school.

Last week, the DA and ActionSA accused the provincial government of wasting more than R82m of taxpayers’ money over the irregular construction of the school.

ActionSA Gauteng provincial caucus leader Funzi Ngobeni said on Thursday that not only had taxpayers’ money been wasted, but the persistent delays caused by the negligence of the provincial government had denied the Tembisa community access to the much-needed school for years.

Ngobeni said the poor project management by both the GDE and the GDID had led taxpayers to forfeit R10m due to a nearly two-year delay in handing the site to the contractors.

Gcaleka requested GDID to submit a report from the date of receipt within 60 days, indicating a project plan for the completion of the school, ensuring it is fully operational.

The head of Gauteng’s treasury will provide a report monitoring spending habits and prevent irregular and fruitless expenditure in relation to this project in 60 days, Gcaleka said.

Allie singled out schools that face the same predicament.

“It must be stated that Mayibuye Primary School is not the only school in the province in such a predicament. Others include Semphato Secondary School, Hillcrest Primary School, and LG Holele Secondary School, among others. These are just the instances we are aware of where contracts were awarded to build or restore schools, yet they remain closed or abandoned,” said Allie.

Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona in a statement on Monday, acknowledged the findings, saying the report issued under Section 182(1)(b) of the Constitution and Section 8(1) of the Public Protector Act, scrutinised whether the GDID and GDE had adhered to legal prescripts and procedures during the construction of the Mayibuye Primary School and whether their actions constituted maladministration and undue delay.

“The investigation found a lack of procedural integrity in the procurement and supply chain management procedures used in building the school. ”Additionally, the report alleges that a critical wetland study was not conducted before construction began, suggesting further improper conduct and maladministration,” said Mabona.

Mabona said the department was committed to rectifying some of the glaring issues picked up by the public protector.

“GDE acknowledges the findings of this report and is committed to implementing the recommended remedial actions. Such implementation includes ensuring continuous compliance and strict monitoring mechanisms of the project plan, which was already provided to the public protector on June 14, 2024, to ensure that the school is fully operational in line with the efficient and economic management of the working capital in terms of S 38(1)(c)(iii) of the PFMA,” he said.