Evidence of large-scale corruption in Kha Ri Gude literacy programme emerges
04 October 2016
The Department of Basic Education Annual Report tabled in Parliament this week reveals evidence of large-scale corruption in its flagship Kha Ri Gude mass Literacy programme.
These revelations have emerged just a few weeks after the Kha Ri Gude programme was awarded the 2016 UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy at an awards ceremony in Paris.
The Department’s Annual Report indicates that fruitless and wasteful expenditure increased from R 28 000 in 2014/15 to R 44,3 million this year due to alleged corruption in the Kha Ri Gude adult literacy programme.
The report states:
“It is alleged that volunteers for the Kha Ri Gude classes where paid stipends for learners with a lower number than as indicated on the claims forms. The matter is being investigated, to establish whether the Volunteers Educators were not paid based on the scale as determine by the Department. The total amount paid for the duration of the classes has been disclosed as fruitless and wasteful expenditure pending the outcome of the investigation.” (sic)
It is alleged that, in some cases, volunteer teachers were paid stipends without any learners in the class at all. This may go some way to explain why only 298 317 learners out of a total planned target of 430 441 benefited from the Kha Ri Gude programme in 2015/16.
The Department’s Annual Report also reveals irregular expenditure of R 405 million, partly due to irregularities in the Kha Ri Gude literacy programme. As the report notes:
“The Department appointed SAB&T as an implementing agent / service provider to manage the Kha Ri Gude programme. During the 2015/16 financial year, it was discovered that during evaluation, one of the stages was misinterpreted and where site visits should have being done to all bidders. Based on these, the management fee paid to the service provider was declared as irregular expenditure.”
The DA will be calling on the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, to provide a detailed explanation to Parliament of the amounts identified as unauthorised expenditure, irregular expenditure and fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the 2015/16 Basic Education Annual Report.
In addition, we expect a full report on the Department’s investigation into corruption in the Kha Ri Gude mass literacy programme. We want to know which officials and teachers will be held liable, what steps will be taken to recover the money and how the Department will prevent this corruption from re-occurring.
These corruption allegations follow the ‘Jobs for Cash’ scandal in which teachers and officials affiliated to the South African Democratic Teachers Union were found to have bought and sold teaching posts. It is not hard to see why Corruption Watch named the basic education sector as the biggest ‘corruption hotspot’ in its 2015 report, noting a distinct lack of accountability and transparency in the system.
It is therefore imperative that Minister Motshekga makes an example of those found guilty of stealing money from programmes designed to uplift poor and marginalised learners. We look forward to seeing what action she will be taking to stamp out this corruption in her Department.
Note to Editors:
The definitions for fruitless and wasteful expenditure, unauthorised expenditure and irregular expenditure follow below:
Fruitless and wasteful expenditure – Expenditure that was made in vain and that would have been avoided had reasonable care been taken. The PFMA requires accounting officers to take all reasonable steps to prevent fruitless and wasteful expenditure. The auditee should have processes in place to detect fruitless and wasteful expenditure and, if incurred, to disclose the amounts in the financial statements. Fruitless and wasteful expenditure is required to be reported when it is identified – even if the expenditure was from a previous financial year. The PFMA further provides for steps that accounting officers should take to investigate the fruitless and wasteful expenditure to determine whether any officials are liable for the expenditure and to recover the money if liability is proven.
Irregular expenditure - Expenditure that was not incurred in the manner prescribed by legislation. Such expenditure does not necessarily mean that money had been wasted or fraud committed, but is an indicator that legislation is not being adhered to, including legislation aimed at ensuring that procurement processes are competitive and fair.
It is also an indicator of a significant breakdown in controls at some auditees. The PFMA requires accounting officers to take all reasonable steps to prevent irregular expenditure. Auditees should have processes to detect non-compliance with legislation that results in irregular expenditure and, if incurred, are required to disclose the amounts in the financial statements. Irregular expenditure is required to be reported when it is identified – even if such expenditure was from a previous financial year.
Unauthorised expenditure - Expenditure by departments that was not spent in accordance with the approved budget. The PFMA requires accounting officers to take all reasonable steps to prevent unauthorised expenditure. The departments should have processes in place to identify any unauthorised expenditure that was incurred and disclose the amounts in the financial statements. The PFMA also includes the steps that accounting officers and oversight bodies should take to investigate unauthorised expenditure to determine whether any officials are liable for the expenditure and to recover the money if liability is proven.
Source: Consolidated general report on national and provincial audit outcomes for 2014-15
Statement issued by Gavin Davis MP, DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education, 4 October 2016