The year 2020 hasn’t been favorable towards the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) with numerous tragedies and shortcomings consistently knocking at the department’s doorstep. On Monday, a horde of protestors marched from Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown to the GDE building in Marshalltown, Johannesburg in the hope of delivering a memorandum that states their grievances.
Businesses amounting to 4581 are pleading with Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to attend to a matter that involves the current state of tenders offered by the department to contractors. These contractors are complaining about incompetence within the department regarding the registration process and allocation of tenders. According to Sosa Reuben, a contractor present at the protest march, a roster database was initially advertised by GDE three years ago for day-to-day maintenance posts and required all companies to register their businesses.
All 4581 companies were registered but the adjudication process conducted by the department took another threeyears and resulted in only 760 companies being chosen, in 2020, and registered on the database. Protestors want the GDE to explain how only 760 companies made it on the database including those that were not registered before.
“If this adjudication process takes three years to finalise, is it then fair for us to wait another three years in order to apply for the next roster? If the process takes another three years does it then mean we’ll have a nine year waiting period”, exclaimed Reuben out of frustration. Most of the frustration came from the waiting period that meant the businesses were not functioning.
This is reportedly due to incomplete documents such as the CIDB, tax clearance and letter of good standing submitted to the department (despite the department having access to each company’s updated documents through the Central Supplier database, also known as the CSD). Reuben, however, disputes this sentiment stating that experienced companies that worked with other departments, in the past, are being undermined. “This is clearly designed to degrade the GDE system of accreditations”, states the memorandum.
The contractors had given MEC Panyaza Lesufi 72 hours to respond by the time of publishing this article.