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Soweto school principal Nonzwakazi Usiba of Thubelihle Intermediary School is apparently trying to avoid responsibility for corrupt activities – by resigning. Usiba, who’s at the centre of an investigation into misuse of funds at the educational institution, will not be let off the hook that easily – the Gauteng Education Department (GED) has rejected her resignation.

The principal, who is required to serve a 90-day notice period, tried to pull a fast one on the GED by resigning with immediate effect while on sick leave. The department has told Corruption Watch that if Usiba fails to come back to work following their rejection of her resignation, they will dismiss her for absenting herself without permission.

“The department has sent a clear message to Usiba by rejecting her resignation – come back and face the music,” said David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch.

GED spokesperson Gershwin Chuenyane also said that the department intends to pursue the matter through criminal and civil procedure to recover the loss of thousands of rands of diverted funds.

Teachers blowing the whistle

It all started with a tip-off from teachers at the school whose initial complaints to the GED fell on deaf ears. Corruption Watch took up the matter and investigated allegations of poor infrastructure, a lack of learning material and appalling financial governance.

Corruption Watch hired a private forensic firm to assist in tracing the money entrusted to the school for the benefit of learners.

A forensic report was produced, which covered three financial years and showed that the school received just over R1.2-million from the department in the period under review and a further R367 000 from donors in Norway.

Corruption Watch handed over the forensic report to the department. The report revealed, among other things, that:

  • The school principal cashed 41 school cheques amounting to R134 487.56 that were made out to herself. Some cheques indicated they were for “feeding of learners”, but there were no corresponding invoices.
  • Ten cheques amounting to R41 059.30 were made out to the former school governing body chair, Isaac Ngwenya. Again, there were no supporting invoices.
  • A number of fake invoices were made out by the school to unknown individuals. For example, the school paid R18 500.31 to an individual based on a fake invoice, purportedly from Heinemann Publishers. But the publishers have no knowledge of the school or their order for isiZulu and isiXhosa textbooks. The forensic report also found that a Heinemann Publishers letterhead was scanned and manipulated to reflect the supposed invoice.
  • A payment of R6 000.00 was made to the Star Grill and Buffet at Silverstar Casino in Krugersdorp, against a cheque requisition for “deposit for learner farewell”.

Criminal case in progress

Because of the criminality uncovered, Corruption Watch also opened a criminal case against Usiba last month at the Moroka Police Station in Soweto and furnished the police with a copy of the forensic report.

The case has been transferred to the Commercial Crimes Unit.



The Gauteng Education Department has put its foot down by rejecting the resignation of principal Nozwakazi Usiba of Thubelihle Intermediary School, Soweto. Usiba resigned with immediate effect while on sick leave, apparently in an attempt to avoid responsibility for corrupt activities.
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