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Zululand Municipality mayor knocks on public protector’s door to probe school nutrition tender

Thulasizwe Buthelezi. Picture: Facebook

Thulasizwe Buthelezi. Picture: Facebook

Published Apr 23, 2023


Durban — Zululand District Municipality mayor Reverend Thulasizwe Buthelezi wrote to the Office of the Public Protector to launch a probe into the KwaZulu-Natal school nutrition tender.

In a statement on Saturday, April 22, the municipality said that Buthelezi, on the same day, wrote to the Office of the Public Protector to request a full investigation into the process and players involved in the KZN National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) tender.

“The ANC provincial government has failed the learners of KwaZulu-Natal. The gross mismanagement of the school nutrition programme is tantamount to stealing food from the mouths of thousands of learners who went without meals at school this week,” Buthelezi said.

“My office has been inundated by calls from helpless parents in Zululand and elsewhere whose children are the victims of a greedy, corrupt and out-of-touch ANC government.

“I have therefore this morning (Saturday) written a formal request to the Office of the Public Protector to launch a full-scale investigation into the following aspects of the school nutrition tender:

  1. How many service providers are involved, and the value of work awarded to each service provider.
  2. The track record of the main supplier in executing projects of this magnitude.
  3. The impact on teaching and learning that this crisis has caused,” Buthelezi said.

He added: “The Zululand District Municipality is in constant dialogue with parents and emerging entrepreneurs on ways to intervene should the current situation not improve.”

Meanwhile, KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube, also on Saturday, called for a full-scale investigation into the rollout of the NSNP following reports of inadequate food supply in some schools in the province.

The investigation is expected to cast its net to include probing the food distribution model and quality of the food supplied to 5 444 schools that are recipients of the feeding scheme programme across the province.

Dube-Ncube directed Special Advisor in the Office of the Premier Advocate Linda Zama together with the Research and Monitoring team, Operation Sukuma Sakhe teams, Community Development Workers and Ward Committee Members to scour the province and conduct a comprehensive investigation and analysis of the distribution to every participating school in every ward in the province.

The investigation is expected to establish the extent of the interruptions and produce a comprehensive report on the status of the rollout and management of the food nutrition programme in the province.

“Our aim is to ensure that all 2.4 million learners in quintiles 1 to 3, including some quintile 4 and 5 schools, continue to be provided with balanced nutritious meals daily.

“The National School Nutrition Programme grant allocation for the 2023/2024 financial year amounts to R2.1 billion which demonstrates our commitment as a government to ensure that children in schools do not go hungry,” Dube-Ncube said.

“We need to understand the reasons for the glitches in the system so that necessary interventions are implemented with immediate effect to address the situation.

“There will be consequence management after the conclusion of all investigations where there is evidence of wrongdoing.”

Dube-Ncube also said that she expected the investigation to be quick but thorough to ensure that no child goes to school hungry in the future.

She committed to making the outcomes public, “because we want to deepen the character of a clean and transparent government in KwaZulu-Natal.”

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