PPE worth millions mysteriously disappears in KZN enroute to schools
Share this article:
Durban - LARGE quantities of personal protection equipment (PPE) worth millions have mysteriously disappeared in three districts in KwaZulu-Natal, leaving the Education Department searching for answers and with a huge backlog in schools that may not be ready to reopen on Monday.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Monday announced the postponement of the reopening of schools, for provinces to complete the delivery of PPEs.
The department has launched an investigation to establish what happened to the PPEs, which disappeared in uMlazi, Pinetown and Zululand, where they were kept in preparation for delivery to schools.
About 37 000 masks were among the PPE lost in the Zululand district.
Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said the department was working with the three districts to trace the PPEs.
“It is not yet clear whether the PPEs disappeared, were stolen, are missing or are being stored somewhere and were not signed for. We are working at tracing where they are and what happened to them,” he said.
This has created a further set-back for the biggest education province in the country, with the most rural schools.
Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said yesterday the department did not have the funds to replace the missing PPEs, but he expected schools to reopen on Monday.
“The disappearance of these PPEs makes the preparations for the reopening of schools an elusive goal. The replacement of these PPEs will cost the department millions, money that the department does not have. This will have a serious impact on the reopening of schools. An investigation will also look at possible irregularities. In the meantime, schools are still expected to reopen on Monday,” he said.
The department was consulting the Treasury and national Education Department to see how they could help.