Education dept refusing to pay school stationery bill



30 January 2007 — Durban (SA): The KwaZulu-Natal education department is refusing to pay a R128 million ($17.4 million) bill for school stationery due to a problem related to invoicing.


The education department is refusing to pay the bill on the grounds that the company it hired to procure and deliver the stationery, Indiza Motswedi, has raised an invoice under the name of Indiza only.


Cassius Lubisi, director general of the education department, said: "In terms of the law, if the tender was awarded to a joint venture we need to pay the joint venture … we can’t pay one (part of the joint venture) without the other saying that there will be no legal repercussions if we do so."


According to the department, paying Indiza directly would amount to the department breaching the Public Finance Management Act and other treasury regulations.


Indiza has now instructed Denys Reitz, a commercial law firm, to take action against KwaZulu-Natal for nonpayment.


The National Teachers’ Union has called on KwaZulu-Natal premier S’bu Ndebele to intervene in the row as it claims more than 500 schools have yet to receive vital stationery supplies.


KwaZulu-Natal says that all schools had received their core stationery but some were waiting for "noncore items such as wall maps".