Friday 19 July

Department of Basic Education and SECTION27 find common ground on Tshinavhe Secondary School Nutrition Programme

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) and SECTION27 have reached an agreement that will see the immediate restoration of the School feeding programme at Tshinavhe Secondary School in Limpopo.
The School Governing Body approached SECTION27 to intervene after numerous attempts were made to resolve the situation with the Limpopo Department of Education (LDoE), which attempts did not yield positive results. Procurement and administrative issues caused the delay in appointing a new service provider to replace the one whose contract had come to an end.

The following are the key terms of the agreement reached between the two parties:
1. A service provider to be appointed on Tuesday, 12 November and letter confirming the appointment will be made available to SECTION27.
2. The service provider will commence work immediately.
3. Learners at Tshinavhe Secondary School to be provided with food from Thursday, 14 November.
4. DBE and LDoE to attend to the non-payment of 2 Volunteer Food Handlers who were involved in preparing the food for the learners at Tshinavhe Secondary School.
5. DBE to send a team to monitor and report on the implementation of the plans in Limpopo.
6. An audit to be conducted by the DBE and LDoE in partnership to establish the extent of the problem in the Vhuronga 2 Circuit, to find out how many schools are affected, and to ensure delivery of food to the affected schools by Thursday, 14 November as well as, if appropriate, the payment of Volunteer Food Handlers at affected schools.
7. On Monday 18 November, DBE to make available a report on progress made.
8. The parties to release a joint media statement outlining the agreement and the plans to restore school feeding.

The Department of Basic Education undertakes to remedy the current situation and will put measures in place to avoid further disruptions to the programme. We also appreciate the manner in which SECTION27 has approached the matter and retract and regret the statements made by the spokesperson for the LDoE and reported in an article in the Mail & Guardian on 11 November 2013 regarding SECTION27’s alleged bad faith in filing an urgent application at court concerning this matter. Both parties agree that at the center of this matter is the plight of the learners most of whom depend on the school feeding programme.

The National School Nutrition Programme was introduced by the former President, Mr Nelson Mandela, as part of the Reconstruction and Development Programme and it is a flagship programme of the Department and of government. Through the programme over 9.2 million learners across the country receive a nutritious meal every day. Over 3 624 service providers, 382 local community-based cooperatives and 3 072 small-medium micro enterprises (SMMEs) were contracted to the programme in the 2012/13 financial year. At the same time, 54 096 unemployed members of local communities, mostly women, receive a small stipend for cooking and serving meals to learners.

Elijah Mhlanga: Department of Basic Education – 083 580 8275
Sasha Stevenson: SECTION27 – 082 839 6879