The Democratic Alliance (DA) has welcomed the dismissal of the provincial education department head, Mahlasedi Mhlabane, following allegations of misconduct and tender irregularities involving the shortage of textbooks and the Mpumalanga Schools Nutrition Scheme.
Mhlabane has been under suspension since March this year after it emerged that she altered figures in the department’s annual report to cover her misconduct in connection with the shortage of school textbooks.
She is also facing allegations of corruption involving the multi-million rand Provincial Schools Nutrition Scheme.
Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane confirmed that Mhlabane’s contract will not be renewed as a result of the misconduct and the corruption levelled against her during a provincial legislature sitting, the DA said.
The premier, according to the DA, said her office took charge of the investigation against Mhlabane and with the probe finalised, it was decided not to renew the HOD’s contract.
Mhlabane’s troubles started in March 2017 when 9 Companies took her to court accusing her of irregularly awarding multi-million rand tenders to 17 Companies for the Provincial School Nutrition Scheme, the DA said.
As a result, the Provincial Department of Education is currently facing a lawsuit of over R100 million from the affected companies, the DA added.
By The Book
The DA said it lodged a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) against Mhlabane In October 2017, after becoming aware there were severe shortages of textbooks in Mpumalanga schools.
After a lengthy investigation, the Auditor General found that Mhlabane deceived the department by reporting (in an official report) that 63 percent of learners in the Province received study materials, only to discover that only 36 percent had actually received learning materials.
The DA said it planned to write to the Premier requesting all documents and information regarding the full investigation against Mhlabane.