Unanswered questions across the board

More than 40 questions about suspended officials, corruption and finance remain unanswered.

These include questions on how the department is planning to curb financial mismanagement, the massive infrastructure backlog and how many internal investigations are ongoing.

The questions were sent to the department more than two weeks ago.

The Basic Education Department also ignored 14 questions about the cost of the national intervention, corruption and spending bungles in the provincial authority.

Despite promising a quick response, basic education spokeswoman Hope Mogatlhe failed to reply after 20 days.

The provincial department cited capacity issues and a general lack of cooperation from section managers as the main problem.

Even a Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia) request – meant to be answered in 30 days – was ignored.

Only one of the five targeted directorates supplied the newspaper with a response, and acting superintendent-general Mthunywa Ngonzo has not released this response to the media.

Department spokesmen Loyiso Pulumani and Malibongwe Mtima said they were “trying our best under the circumstances”.

“Some officials who are not privy to the requirements of Paia and transparency simply obfuscate or just ignore our queries,” Pulumani said. Following an e-mail complaint, Pulumani acknowledged the issue of “pervasive tardiness” within the department. He said it was not malicious. “We are also experiencing a particularly difficult period in our section as we are faced with at least 25 daily media queries that are time consuming and require a multi-layered degree of consultations.”

Pulumani said the communication employees were doing the work of three people.

“The network is down for lengthy periods and only one of us has access to one departmental modem and cellphone,” he said.

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