The Democratic Alliance is disgusted to hear of the arrest of the principal and two staff members at Kubusi Combined School in the Stutterheim District. These staff members were caught red-handed stealing groceries meant for the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP).
School principal, Zukile Ntlanzi, teachers Nomakhosazana Ncunani, Daniwe Jakuja and caretaker Michael Dilika were charged with theft of school nutrition groceries, computers and tablets that were meant to benefit learners.
An internal investigation must be launched immediately and strict disciplinary action must be taken against these transgressors.
If found guilty, they should be expelled and never allowed back in a school again. It is not fair that a programme that was put in place to help the needy is being exploited.
Over 1. 6 million secondary and primary school children in some of the province’s poorest areas in more than 5300 schools in the Eastern Cape are beneficiaries of the NSNP.
The theft of nutrition programme groceries is only the tip of the iceberg. Reports have been received by the Portfolio Committee of Education of instances where parents and teachers are consuming nutrition programme meals on the premises. More groceries are purchased in relation to the number of learners that are fed resulting in excess meals and groceries being distributed amongst those responsible for managing this programme.
Judging by reports received of malpractices, no serious intervention took place to counteract corruption and fraudulent activities within the programme.
There are three key challenges that are bedevilling the provision of nutritious meals to the poorest of the poor, namely:
- System and bank rejections arising out of schools constantly changing accounts;
- Non-compliance with PFMA regarding declarations of unspent funds in school accounts;
- The lack of monitoring and supervision through the non-appointment of NSNP District Coordinators.
I wrote to the MEC for Education (click here to view the letter) urging him to investigate this issue as a matter of urgency. Honourable Makupula, MEC for Education in the Eastern Cape, act now and act with assertiveness.