The DA in Limpopo has issued a press release calling on Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha to recall the province’s MEC for education, Ishmael Kgetjepe, who stands accused of having accepted a R1 million bribe from the Mvula Trust, who was awarded a tender to build toilets at rural schools in Limpopo as well as the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.
This follows the EFF laying charges of corruption, fraud, extortion, and defeating public trust against Kgetjepe at the Polokwane Police Station on Monday, after the MEC’s alleged misconduct was exposed by City Press.
The EFF had called for Kgetjepe’s head before, but for different reasons – the province came last out of nine provinces when the year’s matric results were released.
The Mvula Trust won a multimillion-rand tender from the national department of basic education in 2012/13 to build toilets at rural schools as part of the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Development Initiative (Asidi). The trust allegedly received R650 million to build toilets that cost between R40,000 and R60,000 per toilet.
Kgetjepe stands accused of having solicited a bribe telephonically and having received monthly amounts in two tranches of R100,000 and R150,000.
This information is reportedly included in a confidential report compiled by independent auditors Nexia SAB&T.
READ MORE: EFF calls for Limpopo education MEC’s head
The DA said they have noted the criminal charges laid against Kgetjepe by the EFF, adding they would be referring the matter to the public protector.
“This is just one instance which showcases that Premier Mathabatha is unable to deal with politicians in his own ranks that have lied and looted at the expense of the people of Limpopo,” the statement alleges.
Spokesperson for the department for education in Limpopo, Sam Makondo, said the department has “already indicated that the MEC didn’t demand or receive any money to influence the awarding of any tender to Mvula Trust”.
According to Makondo, the current tender was awarded back in the 2012/13 financial year, before Kgetjepe was MEC, and so “he could not have been involved in this”.
“When the MEC joined the department in 2015, the Mvula Trust tender was already in place hence there is no need to ask anyone for anything,” Makondo said.
“Furthermore,” he added, “The MEC has no influence whatsoever in the adjudication of bids since they’re done by supply chain committees.”
He confirmed that the department was aware of the charges laid against Kgetjepe by the EFF.