“You are a ministry with four ministers and four permanent secretaries; it should not have been difficult for you to come up with the best report ,this is disappointing and unacceptable,” Samson Moyo Guma said to the more than 10 member delegation of the Ministry of Education and Skills Development that had appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Guma’s words were uttered shortly before the PAC rejected the MoESD report.
The (PAC) rejecting the report said it was the worst they have ever had to deal with saying it was full of mathematical mistakes and a lot of important documentation missing. The newly appointed Permanent Secretary at the ministry, Richard Matlhare and his entourage of over 10 senior officials failed to explain some figures they had submitted to the committee and were sent back as mistakes were identified in almost every page of the report they had submitted to the committee. So why exactly did the Ministry fail to report?
PAC Chair Nehemiah Modubule said it was difficult to tell what went wrong. “I do not know whether they are clueless about their jobs or they are just lazy. Year in year out they come with the same mistakes, we had to reject this report because it was horrible, a lot of records are missing,” he said.
Modubule said graft was a possibility, “If you have records that do not show what is on the ground, the possibility of corruption cannot be ruled out,” he said.
Former Education minister Dr Pelonomi Venson- Moitoi would not comment saying Matlhare and Acting Minister Mokgweetsi Masisi would be in a better position to answer. Masisi said he and the accounting officer Matlhare were new in the ministry and have not had a chance to go over the report which he said was partly prepared when they took over and had little input. “It is naturally the duty of a Permanent Secretary to account on behalf of the ministry, but in all fairness Matlhare hardly had an input in the report; it was only fair that the committee sent them back,” he said.
The Principal Public Relations Officer Silas Sehularo declined to comment saying he was yet to be briefed.
Trainers and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) Vice President Allen Keitseng says the failure to account by the ministry shows that there is a big structural problem at the ministry. Keitseng said the ministry personnel know of what is required by the PAC and failure to satisfy the requirements shows serious structural problems.
Keitseng said “the Ministry constantly transfers employees especially senior management leaving projects incomplete, those who come in choose which projects they want to finish or start ignoring others; this is not good.”Botswana Sector of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) Publicity Secretary Solomon Batsietswe echoed Keitseng’s sentiments that there is a structural problem at the ministry. “The ministry has very weak structures, an example will be the delay in paying course work monies to teachers, people are just negligent and no action is ever taken,” he said.