EduSolutions responds to Dirk Coetzee claims
EduSolutions confirmed yesterday that Dirk Coetzee had been employed by the company and that he had introduced company founder Shaun Battlemann to President Jacob Zuma in 2007 but denied any impropriety.
“Mr Coetzee was the Group Risk Head and if he had uncovered any wrongdoing whatsoever he had all the opportunity in the world to bring it to the attention of the authorities. We take serious issue with the allegations you allege Coetzee has made,” said Ian Small-Smith, lawyer for EduSolutions.
He confirmed that Salama Hendricks was an “ex-employee” but offered no other details.
He denied that Battlemann had flown to Nkandla by helicopter to meet Zuma saying Battlemann did not “own a helicopter”
Battlemann had met Zuma on matters relating to the president’s charitable trust “always in the presence of the chairperson of the Trust, Mr Sizwe Shezi”
Small-Smith confirmed Battlemann had changed his name from “Mohamed Ismail” for “religious reasons” and had left teaching for “better prospects”.
Basic Education director-general Bobby Soobrayan denied any improper relationship between himself and Salama Hendricks, the former education department official associated with two major education tenders, but confirmed that he had been in a relationship with her daughter.
He said he had ended his relationship with her daughter, Fatima, in April last year.
Soobrayan said he had not been aware of the nature of her work after she had left the education department and only became aware of her former employment at EduSolutions after starting his relationship with her daughter.
“To respond specifically to your question, I’m not aware of whether or not she may have assisted EduSolutions to obtain tenders,” he said, adding that this had occurred long before he was appointed as director-general.
He said although he was aware that Hendricks had worked for EduSolutions, he denied that a conflict of interest arose, since “EduSolutions does not and has never had a contract with the Department of Basic Education or any other institution over which I had/have direct control”.
He denied having had any input in any contracts awarded to Lebone or EduSolutions.
“…We are open to a full and thorough investigation of the tender process by a competent state authority. Personally, I would encourage such a process,” he said.
Keith Michael, an owner of Lebone Group and of Lebone Litho Printers, would not provide City Press with contact details for Salama Hendricks. “Salama is not involved with EduSolutions she’s involved with Lebone, Lebone Group Holdings, not Lebone Litho Printers. She cannot comment on a company that she is not involved in.”
He claimed Lebone Holdings was closed following some “underhanded dealings” involving a previous partner.
“Salama Hendricks is in no way involved in EduSolutions nor was involved in EduSolutions,” he claimed.
Company records show she was a director of Edu-Logistical Solutions along with Battlemann and other EduSolutions figures.
“I’m telling you as the owner personally she is not on the payroll of Lebone Litho, she has not done consultancy work for Lebone Litho; she comes in from time to time when she has to do the other company’s work.”
Lebone Litho is a joint venture with Paarl Media, a Media24 company.
A Department of Basic Education spokesman said Edusolutions was appointed in Gauteng when Angie Motshekga was MEC for Social Development and that when it was renewed it had been handled by Gauteng Shared Services which reported to the provincial finance department and not the education ministry.
Other questions were referred to the Gauteng education ministry.