The IFP’s KwaZulu-Natal Chairperson, Cllr Thami Ntuli, accompanied by Party leadership, visited the Mandlenkosi Secondary School in Lindelani earlier today to provide much needed food relief.
Cllr Ntuli was acting on behalf of the IFP’s Founder and President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, to lend a helping hand and help soften the blow at the School, which was impacted by the school feeding scheme debacle that left thousands of schools without food.
It is important to note that some learners are on chronic medication and need to eat before taking their medication. Therefore, this tender chaos has not only placed their academic future in jeopardy, but their lives too.
The worst-hit are learners from poor families, who rely on this food provision, as it is often their only meal of the day.
This is a clear case of governance failure.
As the IFP, we believe that before the system was changed and centralised, key stakeholders such as teachers’ unions and SGBs should have been involved.
Now, with the central supplier found wanting, thousands of learners are abandoned and left to starve.
It is alleged that suppliers camp in distribution points for days on end without getting food supplies and when they do, they are given food that is about to expire or is simply sub-standard.
We call on the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Basic Education to review the process and to ensure that all schools have food by close of business today.
Their failure to do so is hampering learning and the Province’s Matric results will be affected.
As this unfolds, more disturbing information has come to light, including that the service provider lied to the Department and said they have 56 collection points. It also appears that the warehouse where the food is stored and collected is not a food-grade warehouse, which is contrary to the specification on the tender document stipulating that food must be kept in a food-grade warehouse, with an insurance liability of over R100 million. There are videos circulating lending credence to that suspicion.
In addition, the system to track which batch is taken to which school has not been provided by the service provider, and food packs were supposed to be labelled ‘KZN Department of Education’, but this is not the case.
The following questions must be answered:
- Why has this contract not been terminated if the service provider has failed to meet the obligations of the Department on numerous occasions?
- Why did the Department not inspect the warehouse before this contract was rolled out?
In addition to these questions, it has become clear that the service provider does not have the financial capacity to do the job and was not vetted properly by the Department – another lapse.
In short, the tender has failed and that has placed 2.4 million learners in 2 446 schools at risk of going hungry for three years.
This is both unthinkable and unacceptable. The IFP will not rest until this issue has been resolved.
Cllr Thami Ntuli
IFP KZN Provincial Chairperson
072 585 5000