Msinga pupils starving

2016-01-14 11:49


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg - More than 260 pupils at Msinga High School, a project school in Tugela Ferry, went hungry on their first day of the 2016 academic year because the Education Department failed to appoint a caterer for the boarding establishment.

The boarders, who are from deep rural areas around the province, arrived at school on Tuesday evening and went to bed without dinner.

Msinga School Governing Body chairperson Siphiwe Ngubane said the pupils were also not given breakfast or lunch yesterday.

“The children are hungry and they are looking drowsy in the classrooms. We continued with lessons but we were really stressed about them not eating and we have been running around to our circuit and district managers all day,” he said.

Ngubane said the teachers and school governing body members had rallied and raised funds in the early af-ternoon to prepare “at least one meal” for the children.

“This is a project school, so everything such as bedding, toiletries, transport and food is provided by the Department of Education. We arrived at school and found that no catering company was appointed and now the children are starving,” he said.

Last year, the school was appointed a catering company for only three months and was told that a tender process had begun to appoint a new, full-time catering company, said Ngubane.

“It is unfair to keep the children hungry.”

Yesterday’s fundraising effort collected R800, which enabled a meal of mince, potatoes and rice to be prepared for the pupils.

“This is the most we could afford but we had to do something as we received no word from the department on whether we could close the school,” added Ngubane.

He said school principal Sphelele Xaba had considered closing the school until a catering company was appointed, but needed approval from the department to do so.

Ngubane said it had been an “uphill battle” since the department started their project at the school in 2009.

He said the school was forced to close for a month last year as the electricity was cut off.

“In addition, toiletries that were given to the pupils were reduced, and so was the security. Currently we only have two security guards deployed to the school,” Ngubane added.

He said the teachers were feeling “demoralised” by the situation. However, they had nevertheless worked exceptionally hard through the difficult times last year and produced a 45% matric pass rate.

“The children who board here come from very far away and they do not come from rich backgrounds. There was a promise by the department to look after them and educate them, but we are failing these children if we cannot even give them a plate of food,” said Ngubane.

Education Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said the school would not close and that they had arranged for meals for the children.

“The challenge has since been sorted and the service provider [a catering company] will start on Monday,” he said.

The department would ensure that the children were fed until then, said Mlotshwa.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  school

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.