KZN Education Department embroiled in 'poor quality' PPE mask debacle
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Durban - THE provincial Department of Education has denied it distributed poor quality reusable masks, photographs of which are being circulated on social media.
In a post on its Facebook page, the department said: “These photos of face masks, that are doing rounds, have not been distributed to schools by the Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal.”
While some of their followers said they trusted the department, others said anything was possible with the department. Teachers also shared photographs of the masks they received at their schools.
A woman commented on one of the posts, saying the post was fake. Her husband worked at a Chatsworth school and she said she was surprised by the good quality of the masks.
National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA (Naptosa) KZN spokesperson Thirona Moodley said they had received reports from teachers regarding the poor quality of masks they had received.
“These masks are badly stitched and the fabric used definitely does not comply with requirements of being three-ply,” said Moodley.
National Teachers’ Union (Natu) president Allen Thompson said they, too, received complaints about masks and hand sanitisers. The union raised it in a meeting with the department, but the department said the items were approved by the Department of Health and they had an agreement with suppliers that if there was evidence of poor quality, the department was not going to pay them.
“What is left for us is to prove that they are of poor quality by taking a bit from where they were delivered and then subjecting it to scrutiny by an expert,” said Thompson.
Bheki Shandu, South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) provincial deputy secretary, said they also received complaints about the masks and said some were visibly masks of good quality, while others were not.
“It’s quite unfortunate that the department has not closely monitored the quality of services and products being supplied,” said Shandu.
Education spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said any problems with the quality of the masks could be raised with the department, who would escalate it to the Department of Health.