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Three Senior KZN Education Officials Suspended Over R129mn Schools’ Sanitary Towels Project

THREE senior of officials of and a service provider to the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) education department have been suspended following an investigation into a tender worth R129.8 million.

This was announced by MEC of education Kwazi Mshengu at a media briefing on Thursday.

It is alleged officials mismanaged the implementation of a project aimed at distributing sanitary towels to indigent girl-learners at the majority of the province’s schools between 2016 and 2017.

“It was revealed that an excess of 2,702,065 packs of sanitary towels were not needed,” said Mshengu.

Mshengu said his department initiated the sanitary towel provision programme to improve the school attendance of girl-children as well as improve their performance.

The forensic investigation found there was an oversupply of more than two million sanitary pads; 388 650 packs of sanitary pads were not delivered to the district offices and head office; another 64 269 packs were not delivered to schools; and that these packs cost more than R4-million.

The department launched the project in 2016 and R20-million was set aside for selected schools in quintiles one to four.

The intention was to supply learners in grades four to 12.

Mshengu said that in April 2017 the department approved the purchase of 953 122 packs of pads at a cost of more than R54-million; in August 2017, a second order for the same number of learners at the same cost was approved.

Between 2016 and 2017, the department spent R129 799 654 on sanitary towels.

(Compiled by Inside Education staff

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