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July 2011 | Adam Leach
way schools in South Africa purchase text books is open to corruption due to a
lack of controls.
conducted by NGO TransparencyInternational (TI) found a lack of “appropriate
mechanisms” to regulate the relationships between schools and vendors in the
country has created a corruption risk.
Mokeki, national programme coordinator for Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery inAfrica – a TI scheme in South Africa, said in a statement: “The government
needs to strengthen governance controls both at the provincial and school level
and ensure that education budgets are used correctly. [It] has a duty to
provide quality education for the next generation of South Africans, which is
why it must take immediate steps to fight corruption.”
the Schools Governing Bodies Act, South African schools can manage contracts
for textbooks themselves. But TI research suggests they do not have the right
procedures in place to ensure the tendering process is managed fairly.
half (51 per cent) of 45 school principals surveyed admitted that they had no
formal procurement policy in place, while just 30 per cent have no mechanism to
compare the quality of suppliers, suggesting contracts are awarded solely on
price. However, in some cases district or provincial officials manage the
relationships between suppliers and schools, which mitigates the risk.
the main area of school expenditure, outside of personnel, the procurement of
textbooks is a prime area for corruption and misappropriation, backed up by the
reports finding that embezzlement of funds is the main area of risk.