Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi has rejected what he calls “misleading reports” in weekend newspapers which said he allegedly convened a secret meeting to discuss departmental tenders.
Lesufi said in a statement that he had received an invitation from the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO), and concerned citizens to address a community meeting after a school in Soshanguve went for months without electricity.
According to Lesufi, local contractors stopped the project to repair the electricity problem and demanded that they be appointed to carry out the work at the school. The same contractors further stopped Bidvest to clean schools around the area, which was a donation.
“At the community meeting, attended by School Governing Bodies (SGB’s), Learner Formations, Business Forums, School Principals and community formations such as CPF’s, the MEC explained how contracts were advertised and adjudicated in government in general. For the record, this meeting took place in May 2020,” said Gauteng Education spokesperson Steve Mabona.
Mabona added: “As part of his commitment to attend to the issues that were raised in the said meeting, the MEC took attendees on a walk-about at the school to demonstrate the urgent need of the repairs that were required to be done.
“Why would a walk-about be arranged if the meeting was “secret”? It was after this meeting that the electricity of the school was restored and the repairs were allowed to proceed.”
Mabona said that the allegation that this was a secret meeting is baseless and unfounded.
“It is unfortunate that the recording that is circulated was seriously manipulated and tampered with as it deliberately excludes the beginning of the said meeting where the purpose of the session was explained in detail, the manipulated voice clip only contains areas where the MEC was responding to questions that were raised by members of the community” said Mabona.
Lesufi said he will not be deterred to continue with his work to ensure quality education for all is realised
“I am fully aware that there are forces at play who want to assassinate my character for political expediency. Unfortunately in a democratic society, the accuser doesn’t have to prove their allegations but the accused must prove their innocence. I have no control over these faceless elements, but I will not be deterred to continue with my work to ensure quality education for all is realised” said Lesufi.