KZN Cargate scandal: MEC Mshengu’s crocodile tears won’t wash
12 November 2019
The DA notes with interest the shedding of figurative crocodile tears by KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC KwaziMshengu in a statement late yesterday. This after the recent revelation that he spent an estimated R500 000 of taxpayers’ money on hiring a vehicle when there was already one at his disposal.
The MEC’s conduct does not surprise the DA. That he has now decided to play the sympathy card is a move typical of the ANC when it finds itself in a corner.
Meanwhile, his overnight decision to stop using the hired vehicle and write to the Public Protector to request a probe into his alleged involvement in the vehicle scam is nothing short of disingenuous.
The MEC’s moves also beg several questions. The first is whether he knew that he was driving a luxury vehicle costing the tax payer such an exorbitant amount?
And, if he did, why he allowed it to continue when there are schools in our province without proper roofs, with cracked and dilapidated buildings and no windows and even thousands of pit latrines.
That the MEC allegedly drove to some of these schools in such a pretentious show of importance - all on the tax payers ticket – is unacceptable.
Such extravagance while using money intended to uplift our young people is pure evil and wrong. One must wonder how the MEC sleeps at night.
While the Public Protector’s findings in terms of the misuse of funding and any possible collusion remain to be seen, the DA will also move to seek political accountability. In this regard, the DA Caucus in the KZN Legislature will seek advice based on the rules of the provincial parliament in order to determine whether this is a matter to be probed by the Legislature’s Ethics Committee.
This is particularly important given that the MEC has his own vehicle, which he could have used all along or at least in the interim until such time as the disputed Mercedes Benz was fixed – if it is at all broken – and made ready for his use. The question is why didn’t he do this? His claim that this would have cost the Department even more is very worrying.
What the MEC is effectively saying is that his travel claims could be in excess of R1.2 million per year. This raises serious questions about which trips he is claiming for and what he gets paid for and points to an urgent need for an audit of his travels.
Scrutiny in this areas also needs to be ongoing in the form of repeated parliamentary questions, which the DA will undertake, along with a close eye from the Office of the Public Protector.
The DA believes that there is a strong case against the MEC. Once an opinion has been received, we will advise on any possible action through the Legislature. We will not allow the public purse to be squandered.
Issued by Imran Keeka, DA KZN Spokesperson on Education, 12 November 2019