KZN Education must hand over running of school feeding scheme

Tom Stokes, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Education

 

Claims that the feeding scheme at a number of schools in Newcastle has broken down are not surprising.

KZN’s school feeding scheme is a massive project.  Some R1.3 billion is spent feeding about two million learners in some 5 000 schools.

It is a programme that is too big and too important an investment of taxpayers’ funds to be left under the management of a relatively junior education official.

The organizational load and the daily management of the feeding scheme calls for a sophisticated and well resourced management entity, particularly with the many opportunities for graft and corruption and the loss of millions of rands destined to feed the poorest of children but which get siphoned off into other pockets.

KZN’s news Education MEC has partially addressed the problem of inadequate corporate governance by moving the feeding scheme out of its original department line function and placing it within a special departmental division reporting directly to the HOD and herself.

This is a move in the right direction – but it is not enough.

The school feeding scheme should be run by a separate public enterprise.

Not only because it would allow clearer oversight of the schemes attainment of the ancillary performance indicators such as job creation and skills transfers in the local catering SMEEs – but because the required auditing oversight of the Auditor-General would address the issue of corruption and wastage of state funds in a more rigorous and formal nature than is presently possible.