MEC Debbie Schäfer notes Special Investigation Unit report on Western Cape Education Department
27 January 2022
I have noted the claims by various politicians regarding the finding against the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU).
The SIU report offers no finding of corruption, collusion or fraud against the WCED. The finding is limited to the process followed in the procurement of cloth masks. A similar finding was made previously by the Auditor-General, which we disputed, as it did not take account of the timing of National Treasury instructions issued, which we followed. It is telling that the SIU found no irregularities with respect to procurement of hand sanitiser from the same company.
Nevertheless, because the SIU’s report recommends disciplinary action against some senior officials, the WCED has referred the matter to the Department of the Premier’s People Management Unit for advice on how to proceed, to ensure that there can be no allegations of obstruction or lack of independence by the WCED. As the WCED’s own Labour Relations sub-directorate falls within the branch referred to by the SIU, it was also important to remove any potential conflict of interest.
We take the SIU report very seriously, and now await the recommendations from the Department of the Premier for further action, if any.