KZN education department lost R4m on undelivered sanitary pads

23 July 2020 - 13:56 By Lwandile Bhengu
KwaZulu-Natal education MEC Kwazi Msheng says his department procured an excess of 2,702,065 packs of sanitary pads that were not needed.
KwaZulu-Natal education MEC Kwazi Msheng says his department procured an excess of 2,702,065 packs of sanitary pads that were not needed.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The KwaZulu-Natal department of education says that it lost more than R4m when  sanitary pads were not delivered as part of its sanitary pads programme in 2016/17.

In a media briefing on the investigation into the procurement and distribution of sanitary pads on Thursday, education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said that the department had launched an investigation after allegations of over-supply and supply to "non-deserving" schools.

“It was established that 388,680 packs were not delivered to the district offices and the head office. A further 64,269 packs were not delivered to schools. These packs are valued at R4,310.40,” said Mshengu, adding that the packs had since been delivered.

The investigation also revealed that the department had procured an excess of 2,702,065 packs of sanitary pads. Mshengu said that they had not quantified the rand value of this but that those pads had also been delivered.

The programme was started by the department in 2016 and it spent a total of R129,799,654 during 2016/17.

“Around April 2017, the department approved the purchase of sanitary pads for 953,122 girl learners at the cost of R54,899,827.20. In August 2017, the department approved and issued a second order for the same number of learners and at the same cost,” said Mshengu.

Mshengu said that the investigation found irregularities in obtaining the number of pupils who needed to benefit from the programme and that a needs analysis was not conducted.

“The number of girl learners to benefit was determined by statistics obtained from Education Management Information System for the 2016 school year but to be used in the 2017 implementation plan. Not only were these statistics for the incorrect year but were well known to be unreliable,” he said.

Mshengu said that investigations found no irregularities in the awarding of the contract but rather the problem was in its implementation. Mshengu's predecessor, Mthandeni Dlungwane, was also not fingered for any wrongdoing.

The investigation recommended that disciplinary action be taken against the deputy director-general for institutional development support branch, the chief director for social enrichment programmes and the director for special needs education.

“I have since written to the officials affected by the adverse finding to inform them about my decision and that I have referred the report to the head of department for implementation,” said Mshengu.

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