Two top education officials suspended over feeding scheme fraud claims

2012-06-14 00:00

TWO high-ranking officials of the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department were suspended on Tuesday on allegations of corruption in the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP).

A source said that one of the suspended officials was directly involved in the programme.

The source added that the two were alleged to be involved in an array of irregularities, including colluding with service providers and manipulating tender processes.

The department declined to reveal their names until its investigations are concluded.

Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said the investigation began last month.

“Any cent that goes where it’s not intended is felt by the department and causes damage. Which child should go to bed hungry because some people are allegedly misusing funds?” Mahlambi asked.

The department said it was still receiving tip-offs about the matter and the names of more alleged fraudsters were expected to emerge.

It announced in its 2012/13 budget this month that it would feed over two million pupils daily this financial year.

An amount of R1,151 billion was allocated to the programme for the financial year.

The NSNP is one of the measures aimed at alleviating poverty, hunger and nutrition deficiencies in schools.

“We cannot allow it [NSNP] to become a cash cow for the few at the expense of our people who are in dire need of such a service ... ,” said the department.

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