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KZN textbooks shredded, corruption suspected

KZN Education MEC suspects corruption is behind damaged textbooks at the distributor's warehouse.

FILE: A worker places a sticker on workbooks for the 2013 academic year. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says investigations are under way after textbooks were found shredded and burned in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal, on Wednesday.

The damaged books were discovered at a warehouse belonging to UTI Distributors, which has been contracted by the department to distribute textbooks in all provinces.

The province's MEC for Education, Senzo Mchunu, expressed his "dismay" at the "shocking discovery" and said the books were meant to be distributed in March.

The books were discovered after the provincial department became suspicious about the company because it had failed to distribute books directly to schools, leaving them at an office to be picked up by principals instead.

"We began to investigate and followed leads which led us to this shocking discovery," the MEC was quoted as saying in a press statement.

Mchunu said they suspected there was foul play.

"We can't help but suspect that there is a case of huge corruption on the part of the company in question. We also suspect that distribution of workbooks to schools have been affected as a result of this misdemeanour."

Motshekga's spokesperson Hope Mokgatlhe said an investigation began immediately.

"The minister was very shocked to learn that and immediately got hold of the MEC in the province to investigate."

She added that some reports indicated only 100 books had been damaged.

Last year, the Democratic Alliance claimed unused textbooks were dumped in Limpopo.

The province's Education department was widely criticised after it was revealed that thousands of textbooks were not delivered to scores of schools.