While the Gauteng Department of Education congratulates itself over its distribution of tablets and other elearning material to make public schools “paperless”, the Democratic Alliance (DA) thinks the choice in the project’s service provider could spell disaster for the province.

In a post on its website, the DA flags the involvement of EduSolutions, which was revealed to have been given the tender to provide all the hardware and software resources for the project, as a risk.

The main reason behind the DA’s alarm is that the company also happens to be the same service provider that was contracted by the national Department of Basic Education to provide textbooks in Limpopo during the 2012 scandal that saw thousands of textbooks not being delivered, some even being found dumped or locked up in warehouses.

Interestingly, the tender for the Gauteng project is part of an original contract that was awarded to the supplier during the same year.

“EduSolutions also have close ties with President Zuma and the ANC. Serious questions were raised in 2012 about these links and seem to point to the company’s political connections having a big influence on it receiving a number of state contracts,” the party said. “It was reported that African Access Holdings, the holding company of EduSolutions, was a key donor to President Zuma’s RDP Education Trust and that EduSolutions founder, Shaun Battlemann, had links to President Zuma through this education trust.”

“Our record speaks for itself,” Singatha Nobongoza, business manager of EduSolutions parent company, African Access Holdings, told New24. “We have been supplying textbooks and learning materials to Gauteng schools without problems for the past 12 years.”

The DA said it will tackle the issue in parliament by asking what penalties are in place to ensure that EduSolutions will deliver on time, as per the contract and that the record of decision in the granting of the contract to EduSolutions be made public.

[Source – DA]