Public protector Thuli Madonsela released three finalised reports at a media briefing on Thursday 9 December. The reports gave details of investigations into irregular activities at the the Eastern Cape Department of Education, the Department of Communications and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Madonsela reported on the findings of an investigation into the alleged failure of the Eastern Cape’s education department to deliver workbooks to pupils; alleged irregularities in the appointment of service providers to render event management services for the hosting of the inaugural ICT Indaba held in June 2012; and a R800-million tender awarded by Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson to Sekunjalo Investments for the maintenance and operation of state-owned marine patrol vessels.
Download the reports as PDF files:
* Unsolicited Donation – DInah Pule
* Learning without Books – EC Department of Education
* Docked Vessels – Tina Joemat-Pettersson
Madonsela said that the provincial department of education had failed to deliver the workbooks on time or at all, or that the books were printed in the wrong languages. This amounted to “clear maladministration”.
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga was not to blame, she said, but the responsibility falls on the basic education director-general and provincial head of the department, as they had failed to co-ordinate processes, and failed the pupils as well.
In the case of the ICT Indaba and former communications minister Dinah Pule, Madonsela found that Pule had not pressured telecoms companies to sponsor the event, but she did authorise the donation of R10-million of her department’s money to the event and this was improper and amounted to maladministration.
In total, nearly R26-million worth of sponsorships was received from major IT companies, in addition to the department’s contribution, but there was uncertainty as to how that money had been spent. It emerged from Madonsela’s report that R15-million contributed by MTN was illegally diverted by Phosane Mngqibisa, Pule’s boyfriend. He was appointed as one of the service providers, and had moved R6-million into his company account.
Pule had also lied about that relationship, said Madonsela, because for a long time she denied that they were in a relationship but finally she admitted the truth to the public protector. In terms of the R10 000 Christian Louboutin shoes that Pule favoured, Madonsela found no evidence that Mngqibisa had bought them for her.
The public protector said that Pule must pay back all the state funds that were spent on Mngqibisa and mentioned that, in fact, she had already paid back R89 000. The former minister was also advised to apologise to Parliament, the Sunday Time, and her staff, who were put into a position where they had to lie for her.
Madonsela also called for the communications department to audit all travel expenses involving Phosane Mngqibisa, and then claim them back.
In the third and final case, Madonsela found that there was fishy business in the awarding of the R800-million tender, which was for the manning and maintainence of state-owned marine patrol vessels for a period of five years, to Sekunjalo.
Madonsela found that the awarding of the tender amounted to maladministration as it did not comply with the department’s supply chain management process, and was therefore improper. She also substantiated the allegation that tender adjudicator Joe Sebola had scored the more inexperienced Sekunjalo higher than rival Smit Amandla – which laid a complaint against the process two years ago. Sebola's action was “irrational, subjective and biased”, she concluded.
President Jacob Zuma should consider taking disciplinary action against Joemat-Pettersson, Madonsela recommended, for her “reckless dealing with state money and services, resulting in fruitless and wasteful expenditure, loss of confidence in the fisheries industry in SA, and alleged decimation of fisheries resources in SA”.