Pupils suffer as case delayed

2013-11-22 00:00

INDIGENT schoolchildren, who rely on the government’s feeding scheme, continue to be the biggest victims as the Pietermaritzburg high court decides on an application brought for the current tender to be declared invalid.

The application, initially brought in September, was again rolled over until November 29, when the matter came before Judge Jacqui Henriques yesterday. The Education Department was, however, ordered to submit recordings of the processes of how the tenders were awarded.

At the heart of the matter is the alleged sub-standard, inadequate service to the KwaZulu-Natal government schools that are recipients of the feeding scheme.

The application, brought by Primazane Trading CC, several school governing bodies and the National Teachers’ Union against the department, has sought to cancel the existing tender and appointed company and to start the process afresh, appointing them, and other previous service providers.

Zanele Priscilla Madide, of Primazane Trading, said as a former recipient of the school feeding scheme tender, tenders were awarded so that certain members could benefit. She alleged that the department had acted unlawfully and called for a complete review of the tender process.

“Unsuccessful tenderers as myself, who have complied fully with the requirements, have simply been ignored in order that employees within the department benefit particular individuals,” said Madide.

She said the idea of the nutritional programme was a noble one, but the extent of corruption arising out of the process, had not only burdened KZN, but that the pupils were mostly prejudiced as they relied on the daily meal provided for their nutritional needs. She said some pupils had already stopped going to school because they were not receiving the meal.

Matshekazi Primary School principal D.D. Zulu said in a letter annexed to the court papers that on July 15 no food at all was provided, and despite numerous requests, food was provided on July 23, but in reduced quantities.

He said uncooked produce was left at the school and the supplier “disappeared”. He alleged further that the supplier was not providing fruit, but only pap, tomatoes and soup.

Mmangaliso Primary School representative T.B. Zikalala said their school had 267 pupils who were reliant on the feeding scheme. She said on July 24 they did not receive any food, but the school had managed to provide food with their own money.

Zikalala said the service provider was supplying them with “off” produce.

“We are not satisfied with the service and the food they bring is off and the cookers can’t even cook it,” she said.

She said the service provider had indicated they were not being paid by the department and this led to their not having enough capital to purchase food for the schools.

The department has indicated that it will oppose the application.

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