'We expect heads to roll' IFP urges KZN premier to release probe report into R2.1 billion doomed school nutrition tender

KZN Premier Nomusa Ncube-Dube. File Picture: Tumi Pakkies/ Independent Newspapers

KZN Premier Nomusa Ncube-Dube. File Picture: Tumi Pakkies/ Independent Newspapers

Published Nov 14, 2023


The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has called on KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube to release the investigation report into the school nutrition tender that failed to deliver services to schools earlier this year.

"We have been waiting for this report to be released for almost seven months," the IFP said in a statement.

Pacina Retail Pty Ltd, a company that won the R2.1 billion school nutrition tender, came under fire in April after it failed to deliver bulk food items on the first day of the second school term.

The KZN Education Department appointed Pacina as a single service provider to handle the billion-rand school nutrition programme.

Thousands of learners across KZN had to attend classes hungry on the first day of school after Pacina failed to deliver food.

In May, while addressing members of the KZN Provincial Legislature during a special sitting to mark Africa Day, Dube-Ncube said the government had instituted an investigation into the matter after schoolchildren went without food for days in April.

"She must break her silence," the IFP said.

The party maintained that there should be consequences, stating that the KZN MEC for Education, Mbali Frazer must be held responsible for this debacle.

The IFP also called on Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to release her findings on the matter. This is after she allegedly dispatched a team into the province's school nutrition programme.

"We expect heads to roll in this matter," the IFP said, adding that Dube-Ncube cannot sweep the report under the rug.

According to the IFP, former KZN premier Sihle Zikalala left a trail of destruction and has been calling for the release of various forensic probe reports.

"These reports have been concealed since the tenure of the former KZN premier, Willies Mchunu, and speak to rampant corruption in the Office of the Premier," it alleged.

According to the IFP, the reports included:

- The report of a forensic investigation launched into how more than R200 million allocated towards drought relief was squandered.

- A forensic report commissioned in 2012 by the late former agriculture MEC Meshack Radebe found that R60 million in taxpayers’ money, meant to assist emerging farmers in rural areas around the province, could not be accounted for. This investigation, which cost R10 million, was completed in February 2014.

- A report into alleged irregularities and corruption in the Umzimkhulu Local Municipality in KZN, relating to the renovation of Umzimkhulu Memorial Hall.

The party urged Dube-Ncube to come out of the shadows and release these outstanding investigation reports.

"Withholding these reports raises serious suspicions that there are senior politicians being protected. The culture of embezzling public funds must stop. All those implicated in corruption must be punished," it added.

It indicated that the public deserved to know about the report, highlighting how the blunder impacted the lives of more than two million pupils, many from impoverished families who rely on the feeding scheme.

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