The Limpopo Education Department has deployed a team to the Mukula High School, in Xikhumba village, outside Giyani to investigate allegations of the theft of food items meant for the school nutrition programme.

This follows allegations by some parents that bakkies, which they suspect acted on the behest of some teachers, went to the school and took food items, hours after they had been delivered at school.

Parents of Grade 12 learners were on Wednesday asked to collect food for their children at the school. Some, however, say they got small amounts of food items that will not last the learners for the duration of the week, as directed by President Cyril Ramaphosa that schools should continue feeding learners during this COVID-19 imposed break.

Some parents allege that they saw bakkies leaving and entering the school premises several times last Friday night, a few hours after a truck delivered food items at the school.

“On Friday, I saw a big truck at the Mukula. It was delivering food. It was a bulk of food. So, I don’t know what is happening because they said we must come with wheelbarrows so that we must collect the food, only to find that we got only a few things. But the truck was there and the food was plenty.”

Provincial government investigating allegations

The Limpopo Education Department says a team led by the circuit manager will be investigating these allegations.

“We have asked the district director to look into the matter. First of all, it is worrying to receive reports of possible theft of food since we all know that this is much-needed provision. We also have circuit monitors of the school nutrition programme to check what was delivered and what was given to learners and parents; also tighten up systems around stocktaking to make sure that it tallies with what the SGB and other members of the community are confirming to have received,” says Spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene.

Although parents at Mukula told SABC News that only Grade 12 and 11 learners at the school have thus far been given food items, Chuene says all schools in the province that benefit from the school nutrition programme have been feeding learners for the duration of this week.

Equal Education has been at the centre calling for the government to ensure that learners receive meals:

Meanwhile, the Grade 12 learners are expected back in class next Monday across the country.