Unisa claims that it is not aware of the investigation into the transaction of the 77 million rupee laptop

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The investigation found that LenkaBula, in her capacity as chairperson of ManCom failed to ensure that council approval was obtained for the deviation from the prescribed supply chain management processes as the expenditure exceeded the delegation of R50m provided to the committee. Bowmans concluded that after a review of emails and draft submissions that ManCom members were aware of the R50m delegation and that council approval was required for the entire initiative, as it exceeded R50m.

Johannesburg, South Africa – The University of South Africa (Unisa) has declined to address questions about what actions it has taken to execute the findings of a forensic inquiry into a R77 million laptop purchase that suggested “corrective action” against its leadership. Following an investigation by law firm Bowmans, Professor Puleng LenkaBula, the principal and vice-chancellor of Africa’s largest open distance learning institution, vice-principal for finance, supply chain management, and business enterprises, Khathu Ramakumba, and other members of Unisa’s management committee (ManCom) are in the firing line.

Highlights

  • According to the report, dated February 23, 2022, ManCom failed to seek council approval for the deviation from prescribed supply chain management processes and the payment of cash advances to employees prior to making payments exceeded its delegation of R50m. Unisa Principal and Vice-chancellor Prof Puleng LenkaBula who is accused of refusing to be interviewed by the investigators. Photo: UNISA.

  • It also established that Ramakumba instructed and authorised the payment of cash advances to employees in contravention of Unisa’s supply chain management policy. ManCom was found to have failed to refer the deviation from the supply chain management policy to Unisa’s tender committee. Bowmans also recommended that Unisa should consider taking corrective action against ManCom, which, in addition, failed to notify or include organised labour in the discussions related to the cash advances to employees to purchase laptops.

Bowmans wants the Unisa council to consider instructing LenkaBula to be interviewed by the law firm in order to obtain and document her version of events.  recommendation of its finance, estates, and investment committee would be required, given the estimated expenditure totalled R55m. However, Bowman established that between June 2021 to February this year, Unisa effected 23 batches of payments amounting to over R72.6m for cash advances to 3 167 employees for the procurement of laptops that cost between R27 000 to R33 000 each. By February 18, Unisa had only received invoices from employees related to 686 laptops amounting to over R15.2m, with a difference of about R57m still outstanding.

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