President Cyril Ramaphosa must institute an Special Investigative Unit Investigation into Minister Blade Nzimande over on-going allegations of corruption and tender irregularities relating to the procurement of half a million laptops for desperate tertiary students funded by the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
In the most recent of explosive allegations, the now-suspended Director-General of the Department of Higher Education and Training, Gwebinkindla Qonde, has linked Minister Ndzimande to tender irregularities.
Qonde has detailed how he was coerced by Minister Ndzimande to violate proper procurement after Nzimande set up a ministerial task team specifically to handle laptop procurement. Qonde has alleged that the Ministerial Task Team was instructed to not advertise the contract for the procurement as required by Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), and instead, irregularly extend the existing contract.
It appears that this was done under the guise of emergency procurement – which was, undoubtedly manufactured. Additionally, the deviation request was declined by National Treasury and, upon this declination, the Minister is said to have exerted political pressure on the DG into proceeding with the improper conduct.
Sadly, this is not Nzimande’s first rodeo of corruption. It was reported just a few months ago that he was directly involved in the irregular appointment of executives at the various Sector Education and Training Authorities as well the appointment of his SACP comrades in the very department he leads.
The revelations by Qonde further illustrate that Nzimande has a tendency towards improper conduct, totally unbecoming of the position of authority and leadership he occupies.
Sadly, a tendency towards unethical conduct seems to be the requirement for appointment as an ANC government leader. Indeed, just recently, the Former Minister of Health, Zweli Mkhize, was caught with his hands in the cookie jar, after being fingered in the R150-million Digital Vibes scandal. Even on this, President Ramaphosa failed to take action against blatant corruption.
We, therefore, demand that President Ramaphosa act swiftly on this matter by:
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