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KZN Puts Aside R50m For Mobile Kitchens

Some learners have not been going to school to collect their daily meals since the 4-week break started. This has made it difficult for the education department to reach out to the 9.6 million learners who rely on the school nutrition programme for a daily meal. 

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The education sector in KwaZulu-Natal has put aside R50 million for 300 mobile kitchens. The kitchens will be used to make sure that learners are able to get food that is prepared in a safe and hygienic way. 

Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said the funds from the National School Nutrition Programme would be used for the mobile kitchens. 

“From the NSNP savings, we have realised that we were able to secure up to R50 million of savings and we have taken those savings to buy these mobile kitchens.”

Mshengu said the team in charge of the programme would take extra care to make sure that the funds for the programme are not used for the wrong reasons. This is because some officials have been accused of stealing state funds.

“I have directed the team that whatever they do or whoever they contract, they must try to negotiate prices so that they are market-related."

The school nutrition programme has been controversial, as the basic education department has been taken to court because of it.

Recently, eight provincial MECs recently failed to follow a court order. 

The MECs missed a deadline to report to the High Court explaining the steps they would take to make sure all learners are provided with a meal through the school nutrition programme. 

Minister Motshekga was also ordered to submit a report, in which she explained that the programme was funded through a conditional grant.

Noncedo Madubedube from Equal Education said they were not impressed with the plan they received from the Minister. 

“We are angry, we are upset that school communities continue to report to us that food is not being made available to every single learner and every single school and this, essentially, was the obligation of the state. We believe that the plan filed by Minister Motshekga is not detailed enough.”

Equal Education was responsible for taking the department to court over the school feeding programme. The organisation was also responsible for asking provincial departments to provide a plan for how the feeding programmes would work.

"We are disappointed in the document filed by Minister Motshekga, which we don't consider to adequately represent any forward planning," said Leanne Jansen-Thomas from Equal Education. 

"We are seeking the advice of our legal counsel on next steps. We’re unable to say any more than that at this stage."

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