EduSolutions money in the spotlight
The Hawks and the State Security Agency have launched a wide-ranging probe into EduSolutions, the controversial company supplying textbooks to at least four provincial education departments.
Two independent sources have confirmed to City Press that the Hawks investigation centres on how EduSolutions obtained their textbook contract in Limpopo.
Investigators are also looking into allegations that officials were bribed.
City Press has also been told that the State Security Agency (SSA) is probing transactions allegedly made by Shaun Battlemann, founder of EduSolutions, involving millions of rands from South Africa to Dubai.
EduSolutions, whose contract to procure and supply books to Limpopo was cut earlier this year, is being investigated by three separate task teams – including one appointed by President Jacob Zuma.
The presidential task team, headed by deputy finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, called in the SSA after it received information about the alleged transfer of millions between South Africa and Dubai, sources said.
Battlemann, the politically-connected kingpin in a multi-billion rand empire called African Access Holdings which was built largely on massive state tenders, frequently travels to Dubai.
Hawks spokesperson Colonel McIntosh Polela said the task team was investigating several departments in the Limpopo province.
‘It’s too early to give names of government officials and directors of private companies who are the subject of investigations,’ he said.
SSA spokesperson Brian Dube would not elaborate on the agency’s investigations, but said: “The SSA does have a mandate to work with other law enforcement agencies in fighting organised crime and corruption.”
Treasury spokesperson Phumza Macanda referred City Press to the Presidency, which did not respond to requests for comment.
Battlemann, through his lawyer, denied that he had transferred such large amounts to Dubai and said the allegations were not true and that City Press had been “misled”.
He said he was co-operating fully with representatives from the task team and added that it was “critical for government and for society to know and understand the causes of the non-delivery and delay in delivering textbooks and other material to schools in Limpopo”.
The presidential task team is working closely with the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) that is investigating more than twenty Limpopo government officials over alleged irregularities in textbook and other educational tenders worth hundreds of millions of rands.
The presidential task team is due to report back to Zuma within the next two weeks and its findings could impact on basic education minister Angie Motshekga’s future position.