The Department released a press statement on 18 June 2020, refuting social media allegations that it had issued a tender costing the Department R170 000 for one water tank. The Department said the correct amount spent is in fact R28 000 per 5000L water tank, and R6 500 per handwashing station, inclusive of delivery, stands and installation.
The IFP notes with grave concern these inflated amounts paid by the Department, and has further forwarded written parliamentary questions to the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education MEC, Hon. Kwazi Mshengu, calling for clear details around this water tank issue.
It is apparent that these water tanks have been procured at an inflated price of R28 000 per unit, when the average retail price for a 5000 litre tank is between R4 500 and R5 000 in local retailers. Furthermore, the Department indicated they have used COEGA, IDT and DBSA as their implementing agents for infrastructure projects. We want to know why their prices differ from Rand Water, a Gauteng agent, which indicated that it purchased tanks for between R4 500 and R5 400? How is it acceptable for the KZN Education Department to pay more than 300% markup on a water tank? These costs are far higher than market prices. We want to know why, and who has benefitted from these inflated prices.
Of more concern to us as the IFP, is that in many cases, it seems that the Department of Education enjoys paying more for Covid-19 items, as we saw with PPE and other items that were available at cheaper prices in the normal retail market. We want to know why the Department keeps on choosing to pay large sums of money, when it had indicated that it did not have enough funding to cater for Covid-19 safety equipment to last for the whole year, and even requested that President Cyril Ramaphosa and National Treasury intervene with more funding.
We demand they come clean and answer our questions soon. The people of KZN deserve to know the truth behind these shoddy decisions taken by the Executive. Covid-19 has exposed the corruption rot that is deeply rooted in the Departments in this Province. People are hell-bent on benefiting themselves and their cronies, at the expense of learners and teachers’ lives.
Hon. T.P Madlopha-Mthethwa, MPL
IFP Spokesperson on Education in KwaZulu-Natal