LOOK: Pacina Retail reeling as tons of food rots in warehouses across KZN after R2.1 billion tender debacle

Some of the stock said to be rotting in a Pacina Retail warehouse. Picture: Supplied

Some of the stock said to be rotting in a Pacina Retail warehouse. Picture: Supplied

Published May 18, 2023


Durban - Tons of food bought by Pacina Retail to supply schools as part of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education schools nutrition programme is currently rotting in some district warehouses across the province.

The company is said to have been left battered after the department reverted to the old system which allowed suppliers to buy stock from any retailer, leaving it with tons of stock with no market for it.

According to sources within the company, the foodstuff was stocked and delivered to their warehouses but the company later found itself with no market.

IOL was sent leaked videos and photos from the warehouse where cabbages and apples have already rotten.

“The situation is bad in our warehouses, there are tons of vegetables and fruits rotting in front of our eyes and nothing could be done to save the situation.

“We were hoping that the matter between the company and the department would be quickly resolved and food distributed before it started rotting.

Food items are rotting in Pacina wareshouses. Picture: Supplied

“Sadly it seems as if all the perishables will rot in our warehouses before a solution is found, it’s a sad situation.

“Some of us who were roped in to work as part of the programme may soon be retrenched as the matter drags on,” the source told IOL.

Previously, the company told The Mercury that it was still carrying out its contractual obligations.

It attributed its early challenges to some people blocking its trucks when they came to deliver foodstuff.

The company’s spokesperson, Thobani Zikalala told the Durban-based newspaper that they had not received a cent from the department for their work.

When contacted by IOL regarding the rotting food and their reported talks with the department on Thursday, Zikalala said they are unable to comment on the legal aspect of it, but confirmed their losses.

“We are losing food in tons.

“Remember, we had stock for May and June already in our warehouses.

“Although I cannot comment on the location but I can say in a district like Ilembe we have lost almost half of the stock in the warehouse, mostly perishables like vegetables.

“I can't comment on total costs, but I can say to date we have lost about 62 000 heads of cabbages and more.

Video: Supplied

“We cannot comment at the moment because parties may be involved in (the) litigation process in the near future and such may form part of litigious issues,” he said.

Zikalala said they have not considered retrenching their workforce because they are committed to creating job opportunities.

“You will appreciate that work has significantly decreased because of the uncertainty with the status of the project.

“Be that as it may, Pacina have kept most of the staff, also keeping in mind the current economic climate and our commitment to job creation,” Zikalala told IOL.

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