Johannesburg – Following a recommendation by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the Gauteng Department of Education has laid charges against three officials over the R431 million school decontamination tenders.
The money was meant for decontamination, disinfecting, deep cleaning and sanitisation of schools and offices in the province.
Gauteng department spokesperson Steve Mabona said the three, who hold senior positions at the provincial education department, were charged on Wednesday.
“Following the referral by the SIU and the analysis of the evidence, it has been recommended that the head of Supply Chain, chief director for Infrastructure Development, and acting director for Auxiliary Services be charged in accordance with the findings in the investigation report,” Mabona said.
“As these investigations are still ongoing, we cannot rule out the possibility of charging or adding others.”
The department intends for the investigation process to be facilitated by an independent body, Mabona said. The office of the State Attorney had been approached to assist in appointing a senior official to preside over this matter.
“Subsequently, an experienced advocate has been appointed in that regard, and hearings are set to begin from October 5, 2021,” he said.
“We remain grateful to the SIU for the work done thus far and we are committed to co-operate with them.”
He added that while the department does not want to prejudge the outcome of the disciplinary hearing, it is paramount that the officials who caused this expenditure “cannot escape our censure”.