Feeding scheme volunteers accused of stealing food from school kids

2017-07-12 16:43
Police officers with the food that was hidden in homes instead of being cooked for primary school pupils in Khayelitsha. (SAPS)

Police officers with the food that was hidden in homes instead of being cooked for primary school pupils in Khayelitsha. (SAPS)

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Cape Town – Volunteers who helped operate the feeding scheme at a school in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, have ended up on the wrong side of the law after it emerged that they had allegedly been taking the food for themselves.

The volunteer food handlers at Isiphiwo Primary School in Harare were responsible for serving two meals a day to 1 157 pupils. Most are from low income households.

Acting on a tip-off two weeks ago, police officers arrested five women who were responsible for cooking the food.

They are between 35 and 53 years old.

The officers were led to different houses where the women had allegedly stored groceries worth around R15 000.

Vegetables and large packets of maize meal were some of the food items uncovered.

They were next set to appear in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court on August 2.

“It is simply unacceptable that anyone would steal food right out of the mouths of our learners,” said Jessica Shelver, spokesperson to provincial education department MEC Debbie Schäfer, on Wednesday.

She said the school principal and accounting officer assisted with the investigation.

“The school feeding scheme does not only provide more nutrition for our learners but encourages our learners to arrive early for school and stay in school,” said Shelver.

The food increased the school enrolment and attendance, decreased drop-out rates and improved cognitive abilities.

It cost R3.55 a day to feed a pupil breakfast and lunch. The stolen groceries were equivalent to almost four days’ worth of food for the entire school.

Shelver said anyone found stealing from the feeding schemes was relieved of their duties with immediate effect.

In the last year, the department recorded two separate incidents of theft by volunteer food handlers.

On three unrelated occasions, burglars at different schools targeted the feeding scheme kitchens.

Harare police spokesperson, Captain Siyabulela Vukubi said they condemned incidents where people who were given job opportunities chose to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor.

The feeding scheme at the primary school would resume at the start of the third term.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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