KZN Education Dept launches probes into 3 officials over matric bootcamp

Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu has on Tuesday revealed that the Harry Gwala District director Sindi Zakuza-Njakazi masterminded the irregular appointment of the Boniwe Rehabilitation Centre in Umzinto to host a matric boot camp during the COVID-19 second wave late last year.

Companies called Li Africa and Zinolwazi were given tenders to transport pupils after they were irregularly invited to bid by Zakuza-Njakazi who also suggested the cost price to them. Picture: Supplied.

DURBAN - The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department has started an internal disciplinary action against three senior officials for allegedly flouting procurement processes, risking the lives of hundreds of pupils.

Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu has on Tuesday revealed that the Harry Gwala District director Sindi Zakuza-Njakazi masterminded the irregular appointment of the Boniwe Rehabilitation Centre in Umzinto to host a matric boot camp during the COVID-19 second wave late last year.

Companies called Li Africa and Zinolwazi were given tenders to transport pupils after they were irregularly invited to bid by Zakuza-Njakazi who also suggested the cost price to them.

An investigation was launched after disturbing images emerged online showing pupils crammed into a tent with others not wearing masks.

Mshengu said at the discretion of Zakuza-Njakazi, close to R1.3 million of public funds were set aside to appoint the non-tax compliant Boniwe Rehabilitation Centre before it even submitted quotations.

“The district director made a submission to the HOD to appoint the Boniwe Rehabilitation Centre on 23 September 2020. The quotation was only received on 14 October 2020.”

The MEC said there was evidence that the facility was not suitable to host the boot camp in the first place.

“There is a school in Xobo that was available for use to host the matric camp, but the district decided to shy away from it and look for the Boniwe Rehabilitation Centre.”

Mshengu said Zakuza-Njakazi, a chief education specialist and an assistant director in the supply chain department, has been suspended pending the conclusion of disciplinary processes.

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