‘Greedy people don’t want to share feeding schemes’

2013-07-01 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education is dealing with the rotten potatoes operating in the province’s feeding scheme.

The Education Special Portfolio Committee meeting on Friday heard that some service providers are feeding over 3 000 pupils, which is over the set maximum threshold.

The four districts where this trend was prevalent are Uthungulu, Amajuba, Pinetown and Zululand.

Last year, the department reduced the number of tenders and spread the benefits to suppliers by introducing co-operatives and reducing the number of pupils to 3 000 per service provider.

But the decision was met with criticism from suppliers.

Masondle Ngeqiniso Food Suppliers’ Association took the department to court to stop it from capping the tenders and introducing co-operatives, but the department won the battle.

This year the department faces another lawsuit after NGB Meal Supply and Catering and other suppliers filed court papers over the same matter.

Nkosinomusa Buthelezi, of NGB Meal Supply and Catering, declined to comment when contacted.

The department’s senior general manager for institutional development, Judy Dlamini, said some suppliers do not want to share the feeding schemes.

“We’re dealing with greedy people … people don’t want to share,” she said, adding that the department’s goal of poverty alleviation would be at risk if the tender rules were not adhered to.

It is believed that there is collusion between some suppliers and department officials.

Six service providers were found to be feeding more than 3 000 children, ranging from 3 108 to 6 153 in Uthungulu District.

But according to the department, the matter has been resolved and they have since appointed other co-operatives to take over the contracts of some errant service providers.

There are 259 community-based co-operatives employed by the department, comprising 13% of all suppliers.

The committee also heard that the department had failed to pay some co-operatives since April, and pupils were going hungry after suppliers deserted their schools. Officials said they would investigate these allegations.

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