Jacques Smalle MPL
DA Limpopo Provincial Leader:
The DA has today submitted a memorandum of demands to the Department of Education (Click here) seeking urgent intervention against the catastrophic implementation of the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) in Limpopo.
Today, hundreds of DA members, joined by councillors, MPLs and Members of Parliament marched to the Department’s offices in Polokwane.
Mr Molapo, General Manager of Human Resources at the Department, received the memorandum on the behalf of the Acting Education MEC, Jerry Ndou.
This comes after a string of tragic school feeding scheme catastrophes:
- In October 2014, two learners passed away after allegedly ingesting contaminated food provided by the NSNP in the Sekhukune district;
- 1600 learners took ill after consuming contaminated school food Since October 2014. This happened in six separate reported incidents, at Makhabeni primary in Kgapane, Mashegoana near Hlakano, Makeke primary and Kwena Chuene Primary near Luckau, and Magane primary in Gamogashoa, with food provided through the NSNP.
- Between October 2014 and December 2014, in Vhembe and Mopani, 38034 learners did not receive their NSNP food due to the non-delivery of foodstuffs by department suppliers.
- From January 2014 to March 2014, in Capricorn and Sekhukune, 14006 learner did not benefit from the NSNP, while the department underspent on the NSNP by R59 264 000 in 2013/2014.
- The Auditor General’s management report highlighted horrific failings in the NSNP, including:
- Rotten fruit and vegetables that was unfit for human consumption;
- Potentially expired food items were delivered to schools in that expiry dates were not visible on food products; and
- No proof of monitoring of food handlers were found;
The above problems are a direct consequence of the governance crisis and the lack of political will within the Limpopo Education Department.
The DA has therefore today demanded that:
- All children in qualifying schools receive meals on a daily basis;
- Food is delivered fresh and food with no clear expiry dates are not accepted
- Service providers are properly vetted;
- Officials found lacking be held accountable;
- Schools adhere to the approved menu, and providers provide foodstuffs in accordance with the menu;
- Food handlers are monitored and evaluated on health standards by the Department;
The DA demands that measures be put in place to guarantee that there will be no further loss of life or injury due to the NSNP and that the department put our children’s’ best interests first as it is constitutionally obligated to do.