WHY IS A PRIVATE ENTITY BEING PAID R11 MILLION PER YEAR INSTEAD OF CONSTRUCTING FACILITIES FOR DEAF STUDENTS IN A BOARDING SCHOOL?
This is the issue that was posed by Jane Sithole, a spokesman for the DA. Sithole asserts that the Mpumalanga Department of Education is paying a private service provider to assist the 179 deaf students.
She said that the department made the decision to hire the service provider in 2017 in order to provide these students with temporary boarding facilities.
"The department transferred these students from substandard facilities in Limpopo to the grounds of the Bukhosibetfu Full-Service School in Nkomazi near Malelane," she added. "The school is situated close to Malelane."
She stated that the DA was in possession of an internal memorandum dated 16 July 2021, in which Phililwe Mbatha, the director for inclusive education, requested that Lucy Moyane, the head of the department, facilitate a year-to-year contract until a new school was built. She said that the DA was in possession of this document.
She remarked that this was another another departure from the procedures for purchasing goods and services.
When the first announcement was made in 2011, work on the school for the deaf in Mpumalanga was put on hold.
Sithole said that they had also brought the problem to the attention of the office of the public protector, which has verified that an investigation has been opened into the subject.
According to Jasper Zwane, a spokesman for the Mpumalanga education department, "The school in Nkomazi was identified by the department as being one of the only schools with the capacity to accommodate 176 deaf pupils." At the time, these students had been relocated from Yingisani Special School in Limpopo Province.
He said that the department was responsible for securing housing for the students at the student-friendly and easily accessible school.
"The fee includes food, housing, and laundry for 176 students and care providers," he said. "The total cost is all-inclusive."
He said that the agency was stepping up its efforts to build a fully functional school for deaf and blind students in the Emalahleni Local Municipality. "The selection of a location, together with the planning and design processes, are now under progress."
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