School nutrition programme false

School Nutrition Programme

School Nutrition Programme

Durban – KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Education, Senzo Mchunu, has rejected as “false” media reports suggesting that the School Nutrition Programme would discontinue as a result of a court action by certain service providers.

The MEC’s spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi told SAnews that some 81 service providers took the Department of Education to court, arguing that there were several irregularities in the awarding of the School Nutrition Programme tenders in the province.

Apparently they argued that they had proof that some service providers that won the tenders did not have valid tax clearance certificates, amongst many irregularities.

The matter between the department and the said service providers came before court on Friday, 5 July and was adjourned for 15 July.

According to some media reports, this adjournment meant the School Nutrition Programme would be disrupted when schools reopened on 15 July while the court action in was in progress.

In a media statement, MEC Senzo Mchunu explains: “The matter was adjourned for 15 July 2013. It is therefore incorrect, misleading and borders on shoddy journalism for some media houses to publish that the department lost this case.”

Mchunu assured the public that the National School Nutrition Programme would go on as usual when schools reopened after the winter break on Monday, 15 July.

He said his department was committed to the principle of transparency and access to information, but in the same breath, Mchunu said “the department would appreciate for all media houses to practice honesty and integrity in their reporting”.

The School Nutrition Programme targets all learners in quintile (Q) 1 – 3 primary and Q 1 – 2 secondary schools.

The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Education Department (PED) reached 1 524 606 learners in 3 971 quintile (Q) 1 – 3 primary schools and 370 606 learners in 848 Q1 and 2 secondary schools in 2011 alone.  The total number of learners that benefited from the programme was 1 895 212. This is an increase of 103 432 learners as compared to 2009/10 financial year.

Apart from ensuring nutritional meals for learners the programme also plays a role in alleviating poverty and opening up new business opportunities for women.

According to the department’s 2011 figures, there was strong participation of 1 671 Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs). Of these, 109 were Local Women Cooperatives (LWCs). The latter are supported by the Department of Economic Development in mentorship programmes.

Nationally, the School Nutrition Programme in 2010/11 provided daily nutritious meals to 8 281 927 learners in 20 815 public primary and secondary schools. –

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