The Democratic Alliance (DA) has lambasted the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa’s (USAASA) decision to put out a near-identical tender for the provision of television sets to over 111 000 learners.

The first tender in this regard (USAF-IDTV/01/2020) was cancelled without being awarded.

Nomsa Marchesi, the DA’s Shadow Minister for Basic Education, said this was reported that the original tender could cost up to R160 million.

The tender process closes on 2 July 2020, after which the television sets will reportedly be distributed to Grade 12 learners. This process will take approximately two months which means by the time learners receive their television, exams will be around the corner.

These learners have already returned to school and are in fact getting the necessary face-to-face teaching.

Many of the matriculants that are supposed to benefit from this intervention, live in households with unstable or no electricity supply and will not be able to use the television sets.

The DA said it believes that the money can be better utilised providing learners with laptops, tablets and learning materials; improving internet access via Wi-Fi hotspots; and upgrading town halls and libraries into safe spaces learners can access to study and work. Learners will reap more benefit from studying on these devices which provides interactive e-learning.

“We need to be certain that, not only will taxpayer money be spent responsibly, but that learners are equipped with the proper tools to save their academic year,” said DA.

“This decision by USAASA appears to have all the hallmarks of an ill-conceived government project that benefits nobody except for the few connected “tenderpreneurs” at the other end of the contract.”

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