The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department says it will investigate the oversupply of sanitary towels in the province’s schools and irregularities in the multi million rand tender to supply the towels. This is after the National Association Teacher’s Union (Natu) raised alarm in the issuing of the tender.

Angry South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) members stormed into a meeting of KwaZulu-Natal officials. What was meant to be a media briefing and education summit was disrupted by Sadtu members who demanded that teacher posts be filled.

The KwaZulu-Natal education department was responding to allegations of corruption and tender irregularities. The department found itself in hot water last week over claims that it inflated prices of sanitary towels from R20 million to R109 million.

Natu also accused the department of dumping the sanitary towels at schools. “Through our internal monitoring tools, we are picking up some of the concerns with regards to this program; all of the concerns that we are picking up are being subjected to be thoroughly investigated. I’ve taken a decision that we are going to conduct an investigation on some of the matters,” says KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Education, Mthandeni Dlungwana.

The SABC also visited schools where educators complained of the oversupply of sanitary towels that were not being distributed. Some of the school principals said their students were too young to use the pads.

Authorities say they are not aware of any irregularities but will investigate.

“I’m not dismissing the allegation that there are certain schools that are not qualifying, that have actually been provided with sanitary towels,” says Dlungwana.

The provincial and national Education Departments are set to meet to discuss the impasse.