Cast of characters (in alphabetical order):
Angie Motshekga, is the basic education minister. Tshitangano wrote to her of his concerns in June 2011, to which she responded in July. She has laid the blame for the textbook non-delivery at the door of Anis Karodia. In April 2012, she assured EduSolutions the contract would go ahead, despite legal opinion that it should not. There are also questions over whether she fired Karodia, as she claims, or asked him to be redeployed, as he claims.
Anis Karodia, is the former administrator of the Limpopo Education Department. In February 2012, he told Tshitangano of the legal opinion by advocate Pat Ellis that the EduSolutions tender was invalid and that the Neo Africa report said all his allegations were unfounded. Despite the basic education minister assuring EduSolutions on 2 April 2012 that the state would honour its contract, Karodia terminated the agreement on 26 April 2012. . On 11 July 2012, IOL published an article about a secret report written by Karodia and delivered to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) during its four-day fact-finding mission to Limpopo in March. He said the administration of the Limpopo Education Department was “dysfunctional” and “rotten” – and because of a lack of leadership by its senior managers, it had ground to a halt. The report put the blame squarely on a culture of nepotism – “family ties and friendships from the very top” – and clock-watching. Karodia denies he was fired, despite claims by Motshekga, saying he was asked to be redeployed, and that he has a letter to prove it.
Benny Boshielo, the head of department of the Limpopo Education Department. He tells Tshitangano a decision has been taken to outsource the procurement of learner teacher support material (LTSM) in 2010. Although he left the education department in August 2011, he is under scrutiny for his role in the questionable EduSolutions tender. He became the co-operative accounts executive at African Rainbow Minerals and in June 2012 he was promoted to the position of executive: corporate affairs of ARM Platinum.
Bobby Soobrayan, is the national Education Department director-general. Last year, reports said Lebone’s sister firm, Lebone Litho Printers, won school workbook tenders worth R250m. The printers claimed to have no link with Salama Hendricks. At the time, however, Soobrayan was engaged to be married to Hendricks’ daughter, Fatima.
Cassel Mathale, is the premier of Limpopo and the provincial ANC chairperson. He rules over a province that allegedly has been bled dry under his watch. In June 2012, Parliament’s premier public-spending watchdog, the standing committee on public accounts, called for Mathale and his entire cabinet to be fired for bankrupting the province in 2011. On 5 December 2011, President Jacob Zuma placed five provincial departments under national government administration – Education; Transport and Roads; Health; Public Works; and Treasury.
Dickson Masemola, the Limpopo Education MEC, as well as the ANC Limpopo deputy chairperson. He is believed to support Zuma for a second term against the provincial branch’s backing of Kgalema Motlanthe for head of the ANC in Mangaung in December.
Dirk Coetzee, is a former Vlakplaas commander who fled and changed allegiances to join the ANC. Zuma was his “handler” before the democratic dispensation. He worked as a security consultant for EduSolutions and said that during that time, he saw books being hidden instead of being sent to schools and personally introduced EduSolutions founder Shaun Battlemann to Zuma. He also spoke of how other links between Battlemann and a former education department director guaranteed lucrative government contracts; and that EduSolutions had powerful influence over education officials in various provinces.
Glen Kubayi, is a Limpopo Education Department clerk charged with malicious damage to property after textbooks for mathematics Grade 8 and numeracy in Sepedi, Grade 3, were found dumped in Giyani. On July 10, he was released on bail of R2 000 after appeared in the Giyani Magistrate’s Court.
Lisa Naidoo, is the legal head in the national Department of Basic Education.
Martin Mashaba, appointed the Limpopo education department chief financial officer on 1 September 2010, replacing Tshitangano who was acting. On 11 July 2012, IOL publishes an article about a secret report written by Anis Karodia, the department’s former administrator. The report called for the sacking of a host of senior managers, including head of department Morebudi Thamaga and chief financial officer Martin Mashaba, because the situation had “collapsed under their watch”. Last year, the department ran up an unauthorised expenditure bill of R2.2 billion. Mashaba is also among 22 officials the Special Investigating Unit secret report lists for possible disciplinary charges. He is alleged to have acted improperly as chairperson of the bid adjudication committee that approved Aurecon JV’s contract, another tender the Special Investigating Unit is looking into, and for approving Aurecon’s expenses in excess of the allocated budget.
Mary Metcalfe, heads a task team appointed by the Department of Basic Education to investigate the textbook non-delivery. She is a former Gauteng education MEC.
Mathole Motshekga, is the ANC chief Whip and the husband of the basic education minister. Although he has not been directly implicated in the Limpopo Education Department troubles, he appears to have close ties to the premier, Cassel Mathale. Motshekga was deployed to oversee the Limpopo conference in December 2011, which Mathale won. His team failed to convince the ANC national working committee that it did all it could to address complaints when they were raised at the conference. The team’s “weak report” that did not give full details necessitated an investigation, reported the national working committee.
Monde Tom, is the chief administrator, appointed by the cabinet to run the provincial Treasury in December 2011, after it was placed under national administration because of financial mismanagement.
Moosa Ntimba, is an EduSolutions director, who has strong government links. In 2003, he joined Government Printing Works as the chief financial officer. In this post, he liaised with national, provincial and state entities. He is also linked to Zuma through the president’s RDP Education Trust.
Mzwandile Mathews, was appointed the administrator who replaced Karodia when the department was placed under administration. He filed an answering affidavit against EduSolutions at the North Gauteng High Court. The Sunday Times newspaper reported on 8 July that a circular was sent to school principals over the holidays that suggested they may not get all the textbooks they ordered for the coming term, as the department was in dire financial straits. The notice was allegedly sent out on 29 June Matthews, a member of the intervention team employed by the national government.
Neo Africa, a diversified consulting and project management company, was appointed in July 2011 to do “forensic investigation” into Tshitangano’s allegations. The report found that his allegations were unfounded.
Nerulal Ramdharie, was appointed the head of the Limpopo Treasury 1 April 2010. Tshitangano wrote to Ramdharie, asking that the Treasury appoint a team to review the EduSolutions tender. In August 2010, he agreed to assemble a team to investigate, but then a day later, the Treasury withdrew its offer. That year, provincial Treasury department was twice kicked out of a standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) hearing because Ramdharie was poorly prepared to account to the committee.
Panyaza Lesufi, the national Basic Education Department spokesperson.
Pat Ellis, an advocate, provided legal opinion for the state in January 2012. His recommendation to the national department was to order textbooks outside the contract with EduSolutions because that tender was probably invalid and unconstitutional. Motshekga was informed of this opinion. Ellis also asked why EduSolutions was allowed to keep most of the discount and said it would be irresponsible for the department not to interview Tshitangano. Ellis concluded that the tender was invalid and must be cancelled.
Salama Hendricks, is a co-founder of Lebone Group Holdings and is said to have very high contacts in the government. She was apparently central in helping Battlemann get textbook contracts. City Press reported on 8 July that Coetzee met Battlemann through Hendricks, who was with education department and who had worked with Battlemann. Hendricks was linked to another big education controversy, as co-founder of Lebone Group Holdings. She was the director of Early Childhood Development and Schools before leaving to work with Battlemann.
Shaun Battlemann, is the founder and chief executive officer of EduSolutions. Has strong links to Zuma, supports Zuma’s RDP Education Trust and built a home for the family of one Zuma’s former comrades. He was originally named Mohamed Ismail and was a teacher at a KwaZulu-Natal school and self-described political activist. More than a decade ago, he changed his name, allegedly for religious leaders. He also left teaching for better prospects. He started EduSolutions in 2003 with Thabo Mpama and Mateli Mpuntsha.
Solly Tshitangano, the whistleblower, first flagged suspicions in 2010. He joined the Limpopo Education Department in June 2009 as the general manager of finance. From 1 March until 31 August 2010 he was the acting chief financial officer. He was dismissed in December 2011, believed to be for his whistleblowing.