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Teacher unions fuming after R430m spent by GDE on decontaminating schools

A report compiled by the department shows a whopping R430 million was spent on decontaminating schools between June and August last year.

FILE: A classroom at the Ga-Rankuwa Primary School, north of Pretoria, on 26 May 2020. Picture: @Lesufi/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Teachers unions are fuming over what they call the "absolute over the top" spending of R430 million to deep clean Gauteng schools, money they say could have been better spent on buying COVID-19 vaccines.

A report compiled by the department shows a whopping R430 million was spent on decontaminating schools between June and August last year.

It’s understood that hundreds of companies, which appear to have had no expertise or prior experience in the cleaning industry, benefitted from the dodgy deal.

READ: Heads must roll: Committee wants answers on GDE decontamination expenditure

Unions are furious about what they say is the mismanagement of the department's funds.

Naptosa's executive director, Basil Manuel, said that this money could have been spent on paying for vaccines for teachers instead of passing the costs onto taxpayers once again.

“It means that it's going to take longer for the population and teachers specifically to find themselves with getting a vaccine. But it goes further, if we used that money wisely, then all schools would have been equipped.”

The National Teachers Union's general secretary Cynthia Barnes feels the same. She said that this money was wasted while thousands of children had to go without personal protective equipment.

“There are PPEs that the department was supposed to give to learners only to find out those PPEs were of low quality as well as the quantity, some of the learners did not have PPEs.”

There are calls for Gauteng Premier David Makhura to launch an urgent investigation into the scandal.

His office has not yet been available for comment.

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