Mark Heywood | Daily Maverick | 2 February 2021
The latest scandal concerning the Gauteng Education Department’s R431-million expenditure on ‘deep-cleaning and decontaminating’ schools is symptomatic of a deeper problem: we live in a land of hopeless impunity for maladministration and corruption.
It was the year Covid-19 upended our lives. But 2020 was also characterised by public anger over corruption around the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the massive waste of scarce public funds meant for Covid-19 care.
Yet, despite the furore surrounding the Gauteng Health Department’s abuse of money, it seems that officials from other departments were undeterred. We now know that the Gauteng Education Department spent vast amounts on “sanitising schools”, using deep cleaning and decontamination services that were not warranted or recommended. This was done with no executive oversight of the levels or suitability of the spending and no apparent trepidation on the part of officials involved. For several months at least they kept ratcheting up the bills like a chronic gambler – until someone pointed out they had spent more than R400-million.