Fire Matomela, says UDM

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

The UDM in the Eastern Cape has blamed the Eastern Cape MEC for Education, Mkhangeli Matomela, for the current chaos in the province's school nutrition programme (SNP).

The party called on Premier Nosimo Balindlela to dismiss him.

Contracts of small companies and cooperatives involved in the feeding scheme were cancelled and government officials immediately suspended following the discovery of irregularities and payments to "ghost suppliers".

Maxwell Mhlati, the UDM's provincial spokesman, yesterday said the government should do away with the SNP.

He said the programme had only benefited the people who had initiated it and not any of the pupils.

He urged the provincial government to revert to previous feeding schemes which had been handled by well-established companies and bakeries and not the controversial new cooperatives.

Earlier Matomela came under fire from Balindlela in a report she released on Wednesday showing that a large number of "fictitious" small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) had been awarded contracts in the SNP.

The report further said department officials had interests in the SMMEs and cooperatives.

It recommended that all SMMEs and secondary cooperatives that were appointed irregularly and awarded contracts should be suspended from the programme.

The report followed a probe by a review task team and forensic auditors appointed by the provincial cabinet in June.

The report also called for the suspension of all the officials suspected of being involved in the irregularities in the SNP.

Other issues contained in the report included:

l The fact that a supplier who did not have a contract with the department was paid more than R1,5 million.

l Revelations of payments to false bank accounts and payments to incorrect suppliers.

Balindlela will appoint an independent audit firm to investigate the irregularities in the SNP.

She said letters would be sent to all the SMMEs and cooperatives involved in the feeding programme to inform them of the immediate cancellation of their contracts.

Letters would also be sent to all government officials responsible for the mess.