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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Motshekga apologises for school nutrition programme disruptions, says ‘the situation has stabilised’

According to Motshekga, the National School Nutrition Programme feeds about 9.6 million children on a daily basis.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga on Tuesday apologised to the country for the disruptions experience in the National School Nutrition Programme in KwaZulu-Natal.

The minister’s apology follows monitoring visits conducted by her department, KZN premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube and other officials to assess the state of readiness in the implementation of the feeding programme.

This as pupils returned to school on Tuesday after the extended weekend.

National School Nutrition Programme

The National School Nutrition Programme made headlines last month after food delivery challenges left pupils in some areas of KwaZulu-Natal without meals at the beginning of the second term of the school year.

“We are fully aware that for many of our pupils, food from the National School Nutrition Programme is the only meals they might have in a day,” said Motshekga in a briefing on Tuesday.

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“It is for this reason that as the Department of Basic Education, we became particularly concerned with the disruptions to the feeding programme. For whatever inconvenience that was caused, as government we sincerely apologise.”

According to Motshekga, the National School Nutrition Programme feeds about 9.6 million children on a daily basis across the country and the government invests R9.2 billion a year on the programme.

“The reason we have come to the province is to ensure that we work together to resolve the challenges, and make sure that by today [Tuesday], all the children get their meals. The second priority is to make sure that we sustain the programme,” said Motshekga.

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“Members of the executive council in the province, led by premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube, have been conducting oversight visits to schools across the province, to get a first-hand report on the situation on the ground and act immediately where intervention is required.”

All pupils received their meals

Motshekga said the reports across the province indicated that the situation had “stabilised greatly”.

“We are also receiving reports indicating that children were indeed fed. There were reports of delays in deliveries, but children were fed.

“This is an important development from the situation we were in when schools opened for the second term last month.”

She said the department had developed an online tool using technology that delivers real-time data, to be used for analysing and assessment purposes.

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“We have been looking for an efficient model with which to run the programme because there are weaknesses, and as a result, we do not believe that we are getting the full benefit in terms of value for every Rand invested in it.”

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