Corruption Watch joins the call by rights group Section27 to reinstate Solly Tshitangano, who raised the flag on the EduSolutions tender to procure and deliver textbooks to Limpopo schools and was fired for his efforts.
“We unequivocally support this call and we believe tougher action should follow his allegations of corruption,” said Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis, adding that Corruption Watch was investigating Neo Africa – formerly known as Neo Solutions – for its contribution to Tshitangano’s dismissal.
Neo Africa was hired by the Limpopo education department to investigate allegations of serious irregularities surrounding the textbook-procurement contract given to EduSolutions.
Corruption Watch has reasons to believe that Neo Africa played a “pivotal role in sanitising the tender given to EduSolutions to manage the supply of textbooks in Limpopo”.
Tshitangano, in his capacity as then acting chief financial officer in the Limpopo department of education, was the first person to question the legality of the EduSolutions tender.
During 2010 he made a number of attempts to deal with these concerns internally, but was ignored and his objections overridden.
He eventually escalated his concerns to the premier of Limpopo, the public protector and the presidency; though here again it led to no action.
For his efforts, he was locked out of his office; subjected to a forensic audit, suspended and eventually dismissed in December 2011. Since that time he has been unemployed and has not even been paid his pension.
Delving into Neo Africa
Corruption Watch’s David Lewis said that the recent media revelations about Neo Africa constituted a strong case for an official investigation into the firm.
“We firmly believe that further investigation into Neo Africa will uncover irregularities in its dealings with government. We would like to see the law enforcement authorities and the public protector systematically review every public sector tender in which Neo Africa and its associated companies have featured whether as project managers, forensic investigators or human resources consultants.
“We will be strongly advocating for action on this case as it appears that senior people in the company have been engaged in questionable conduct with public officials. As we have seen with the Limpopo textbook scandal, this is happening at a huge cost to public service, and particularly to the most disadvantaged sectors of the population who rely on public goods and services,” said Lewis.