KZN Education suspends officials implicated in multi-million rand sanitary towel scandal

Reading Time: 3 minutes

KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu says officials implicated in corruption regarding the supply of over R4 million worth of sanitary towels at schools in the province have been suspended.

In 2018 Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga ordered a forensic investigation into the supply of sanitary towels which cost the department over R100 million after two teacher unions raised red flags.

Mshengu was providing a report of the provincial forensic investigation during a media briefing in Durban.

“In a survey it was revealed that an excess of 2 702 065 packs of sanitary towels were not needed. The site visit conducted by investigators in each district office confirmed significant surplus stock being stored in various places. It was established that 388 680 packs were not delivered to the district head offices,” says Mshengu.

“A further 64 269 packs were not delivered to schools. These packs are valued at a cost of R4 310 040. The implicated officials have now been suspended pending the outcomes of the disciplinary hearing.”

Mshengu added that they will take steps against the service provider to recoup the monies paid for services that were not delivered.

She says, “The forensic report recommends that appropriate disciplinary actions be preferred against the Deputy Director-General for Institutional Development and Support branch, the Chief Director for Social Enrichment Programmes and the Director for Special Needs Education, these officials were identified as responsible for the mismanagement of the project resulting in oversupply and financial loss to the department.”

“The report further recommends that we take the necessary steps to recover the losses incurred as a result of the failure by the service provider to make full delivery for goods and services procured.”

KZN Education accused of wasting millions of rand on sanitary towels:

NGOs call for free sanitary towels in schools

Non-Governmental Organisations have called on the government to fast track the process of supplying sanitary towels for free in public schools.

It says, about 50 days of schooling is missed by learners in rural schools each year as they cannot afford to buy sanitary towels.

The Lexis Nexis and Imbumba Foundation handed over sanitary towels to over 700 schoolgirls in two schools in the Eastern Cape as part of the Trek4Mandela initiative.

“There is just so much opportunity to do so much more; it’s not just the girls we want to look after, we want to include the programmes that will include the boys as well. This is a step in that direction, but the important thing is, people are happy to support a cause when they see the results, so to be able to share what we’ve done today will help us get more fundraising next time. So when we did our Mandela beach walk we had such good support and to be able to follow it through to say this is what your support did and to actually see the outcome of it will help us generate more support,” said Manager at LexisNexis, Lee-Anne King.

In KZN, an NGO working in rural communities said it has helped teenage girls in rural areas with more than a thousand sanitary towels during the COVID-19 lockdown.

 Sanitary towels for teenage girls in rural areas: