PPE that went missing in KwaZulu-Natal 'mysteriously reappears' - report

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A selection of Personal Protective Equipment.
A selection of Personal Protective Equipment.
Karwai Tang/WireImage
  • Personal protective equipment that "disappeared" earlier this week in KwaZulu-Natal has now reappeared, a report says.
  • The KZN education department says an investigation is not yet complete, but they will hold people accountable.
  • They will only make pronouncements once the probe is complete.


Large quantities of personal protective equipment (PPE) that "disappeared" in Umlazi, Pinetown and Zululand earlier this week, has "mysteriously reappeared", a report said on Thursday.

Kwazi Mthethwa, spokesperson for Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu, confirmed that the PPE had been recovered on Thursday and that someone would be held accountable, TimesLive reported.

He was quoted as saying they would send a "strong message because no-one can make things disappear and then reappear at their own will" while playing with state resources, the report said.

READ | Here's what the courts said about govt's lockdown regulations

Earlier this week, Mshengu said in a statement on Tuesday that he was "shocked" at the disappearance, News24 reported.

The statement did not say whether the undisclosed amount of PPE had been stolen, but said it disappeared "en route" to circuit offices and schools.

"The disappearance of these PPEs makes the preparations for the reopening of schools an elusive goal. The replacement of these PPEs will cost the department millions of rand... money which the department does not have," Mshengu said at the time.

Details

Mthethwa would not add additional details when approached by News24 on Thursday, except to say an investigation is underway and it will continue.

"We hope that the investigation will reveal finer details of this matter. This is about accountability, openness, and transparency.

READ | Here's why the govt backtracked on reopening schools

"There's no criminal case opened yet, any action that we take will be informed by the investigation that is underway.

"Any details regarding reappearance of PPEs will be subjected to an already underway investigation and we wouldn't want to already be making pronouncements until the investigation is finalised."

KwaZulu-Natal schools have been the hardest hit by vandalism during the lockdown period, News24 previously reported.

Mshengu last month said more than 400 schools have been vandalised in KZN during the national lockdown. This, he said, put further strain on the already tightened education budget.

- Compiled by Paul Herman

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