We hosted this press briefing to address the chaos in the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) in KwaZulu-Natal, since the beginning of the 2nd term of the school calendar.
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, the Official Opposition of the Province in the 6th Legislature, demands the immediate termination of the chaotic NSNP tender in KwaZulu Natal Department of Education.
Chaos started to reign in the programme on 12 April 2023, when schools re-opened after the 10-day holiday of the first quarter.
Prior to this chaos in the programme, government had been utilising the services of local service providers to purchase food for the learners in schools that had been clustered in accordance with distance and geographical location.
The programme caters for 5 446 schools in the province and provides nutritious food to 2 445 466 learners with Grant funding from national government. R2.088 759 billion was budgeted for the NSNP Programme in KwaZulu-Natal for 2023/24.
Where does the chaos come from?
As the term of the service providers was due for renewal, government advertised the new tender in December 2022, so that the new service providers could start service on the first day of the second quarter in 2023. We hear that instead of the Department awarding new service providers in accordance with the December 2022 advertisement, the Department decided to award the tender to just one service provider, to purchase food for all 5 446 schools in the province.
The service providers who had tendered to do the work were converted to become ‘delivery services’ of the main (just one) service provider. They would have to collect food from warehouses in the districts and deliver such to schools. We hear that the rate to be paid to them by the Department, or by the main service provider, was a much-reduced rate and was enforced upon them on the basis of ‘take it or leave it’.
This reflects a very arrogant attitude by the governing party in the province.
Further, it amounts to the flouting of rules and laws of the procurement procedures. It calls for a speedy investigation into the programme by law enforcement agencies of the country, to unpack – and reveal – the deep shenanigans and unlawful agendas that are torpedoing the programme. The IFP is shocked and amazed that a government that claims to have the interests of the people at heart would decide to disadvantage so many thousands of service providers in the programme, for the benefit of just one tenderpreneur.
The chaotic situation that has reigned in the programme of late has resulted in schools not getting food over the past two weeks; some schools getting food but not in accordance with the specified menu and learner numbers that schools have; schools getting products of a very poor standard, and rotten items in some instances; schools receiving products of very poor hygiene standard because of the poor conditions under which the main service provider is delivering food to the so-called district warehouses; and schools receiving items that are not enough for the day and for the week in question.
In this whole saga, the dignity of the black child and black person has been totally disregarded by the governing party. The dignity and image of the emerging black businessperson has been totally brutalised by the government of the ANC in the province.
The uncaring attitude of the ruling party and the self-centeredness of the people that the ANC put in power have been laid bare for all to see.
To this end, the IFP Caucus in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature calls upon the government of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal:
- To immediately terminate this so-called NSNP tender.
- To reinstate the previous NSNP service providers – with immediate effect – whilst sorting out the mess of the tender.
- To ensure that if there is a transition to whatever new system in the programme, it does not happen in a way that disadvantages thousands of emerging businesspeople who rely upon this programme for progress.
- That the Hon. Premier to immediately conducts an investigation and identifies the culprits who have landed the province into this mess.
As the IFP, we give the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal seven working days to terminate the contract and reappoint the previous service providers to ensure that learners get food, while the tender process starts afresh.
The IFP Caucus further calls upon the relevant law enforcement agencies of the country to investigate the breach of country laws and to ensure that all those who have broken the law in the administration, the political leadership of government and the tenderers who have flouted the laws with them, are made to face the full might of the law.
The IFP Caucus in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature will not rest until all the people who have subjected our province to this shameful and unbecoming mess have been made to pay for their actions.
Hon. VF Hlabisa MPL
Leader of the Official Opposition in Kwazulu-Natal and President of the IFP
083 974 5783