National School Nutrition Programme: briefing

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

Ms J Masilo (ANC-North West) said that she was happy with the increased monitoring of nutrition and food safety and hygiene standards

30 June 2004

Mr B Tolo (ANC - Limpopo)

Documents handed out:
National School Nutrition Programme - 90 Day Report

The Department of Education briefed the Committee on progress in the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) since it had been taken over from the Health Department 90 days previously. The Department planned to target the poorest schools, especially rural schools and informal settlements. The Committee also discussed variations in targeting different provinces, delivery problems and nutritional menus. A general concern was how the programme could best be monitored to ensure that proper food standards are adhered to by service providers.


The Department delegation consisted of Mr D Hindle, Deputy Director-General: Planning and Monitoring, and Ms C Mpati, Director: National School Nutrition Programme. The Department of Education had been responsible for the Programme since April 2004, when it was taken over from the Health Department.

The Chairperson said that the greatest task of the Committee was oversight. Members should go to the provinces to evaluate whether the NSNP was effectively being implemented in target schools. He stressed that local government should become involved as they could more easilly monitor local situations.

Ms J Masilo (ANC - North West) said that she was satisfied with the increased monitoring of nutrition and food safety and hygiene standards. However, she was concerned about some service providers who did not supply food to the entire radius assigned. She asked how that problem could be monitored.

Ms Mpati responded that if Members knew of targeted schools that were not benefiting from the Programme, they should give the Department the schools' names. Monthly monitoring took place at provincial level. Ms Masilo said that she would fax those names to Ms Mpati.

Ms Masilo asked whether the Department or school governing bodies were responsible for the payment of service providers. There had been cases where service providers went more than three months without payment.

Ms Mpati responded that ensuring efficiency of payments to service providers was a great challenge. The financial systems were in place but there had to be co-operation at school level. If schools failed to submit invoices on time, then disruptions would occur.

Mr J Thlagale (UCDP - North West) had seen how well farm school children were fed, and he encouraged the efforts of the programme.

Ms M Madlala-Magubane (ANC - Gauteng) asked about the variations in targeting different provinces. In Kwazulu-Natal that had most rural schools, the Nutritional Programme only covered primary schools. In Gauteng however, the Programme had been extended to some secondary schools. Why was this the case? Mr Hindle responded that Gauteng had extended its target to some secondary schools with their own budget.

Ms A Qikani (UDM - Eastern Cape) raised her concern about the targeted grades in Eastern Cape schools. All learners up to Grade Four would be covered by the programme. What about learners in Grade Five and higher?

Mr Hindle responded they targetted the poorest schools and the Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal and Limpopo had received the largest share. Unfortunately there were limited resources so not all grades could be covered. National Treasury had been approached to increase conditional grants.

Ms Madlala-Magubane stated that it was not jonly service providers who were corrupt, but also teachers who took the programme bread home to their families. Ms Qikani agreed. Ms Mpati said that there was no doubt that some teachers were corrupt. A solution should be found to eradicate that occurrence.

Ms H Lamoela (DA - Western Cape) believed that municipalities had a responsibility to schools. She was in Worcester where she had witnessed water tanks installed by the municipality at schools. She suggested that that water also be used for gardening and cooking soup in winter. She was also worried about schools in the Eastern Cape. One school visited had 142 learners with no toilet facilities and not enough water. Ms Lamoela would send the relevant information to Ms Mpati.

Mr Hindle responded that the Department was working towards supplying sanitation and water facilities to schools by the end of the financial year. Local government did not have a legal responsibility but he believed that municipalities should have a moral responsibility to schools.

The Chairperson said that the programme should also be about empowering local communities. Tender specifications should be given to encourage job creation. Locals should also be able to monitor the distribution of and the nutritional quality of food supplies. Mr Hindle agreed that monitoring should be by the community.

Mr M Thetjeng (ANC - Limpopo) was concerned about the 90c spent per child in Limpopo. Ms Mpati responded that the Department's aim was to try to reach as many children as possible. The budget was limited and therefore only 90c could be allocated per child in Limpopo and this only covered children in some primary schools. Quality and not quantity was top priority. They preferred to a programme that fitted nutritional standards for a smaller number, than have a sub-standard programme for a larger number of children.

Mr Thetjeng suggested that food production should be part of the school curriculum because it was addressed the needs of many learners.

Mr Thetjeng asked what system of monitoring was used to prevent corruption and fraud. There were so many low standard breads manufactured. Detailed nutritional specifications should be given to service providers to ensure that the best nutritious foods were distributed to schools.

Ms Mpati agreed that nutritional specifics should be given to service providers and that there should be strict monitoring. For example, in the Eastern Cape, she had found three substandard types of margarine being distributed to schools. Schools should not accept food supplies if the following details were not included: the name of the product, name of the supplier and the expiry date.

The Chairperson referred to the report that the NSNP had already covered 5 million children in 15 000 schools across the country. He asked what percentage of the Department's target that represented for the present financial year. Mr Hindle responded that the 5 million accounted for approximately 40% of the 12 million children in schools around the country. It would be great if the coverage could extend to 50%, but more emphasis was being placed on ensuring quality food standards.

The Chairperson asked if the Department would use its resources optimally when the twelve Assistant Directors were appointed. It would be more viable to appoint people at provincial level rather than transfer them from the national level to the provincial departments.

Mr Hindle said that Assistant Directors should preferably be appointed at national level so that they were directly accounted to the Minister and Director-General for the monitoring of food production and supply in provinces.

The Chairperson had had a visitor the previous day who had asked if the programme was anything like President Verwoerd's food programme of the 1960s. The Chairperson therefore asked what the fundamental difference was between food packages received by pupils in the apartheid era, and this programme.

Ms Mpati responded that the key difference was that the food had to be nutritionally approved. Certain outputs such as intellectual capacity and concentration span of learners were being monitored to see what physical and mental difference the Nutritional Programme had made to learners.

Mr Thetjeng proposed that provinces receive funds relative to their needs. If a province was able to subsidise an extended coverage of the food programme, then more money should be allocated to those provinces more heavily reliant on the funds. In addition, many schools experienced problems with their suppliers at public holidays. For example, bread was not delivered on 15 June because 16 June was Youth Day. He pointed out that "hunger does not go on vacation".

Ms Mpati responded that monitoring should start with parents. If food supplies were inadequate and below standard, parents had the right to fight for improved quality and service delivery.

The Chairperson inquired as to the role of local government in the programme. Mr Hindle responded that local government had no legal responsibility but that municipalities could play a moral role by installing water tanks in schools, establishing a library in the local municipality, etc.

Ms Masilo said that circulars should be sent to educators so that they could integrate with the Department.

Mr Hindle agreed that more information should be mad eavailable to teachers. There were 'Greenflag Schools' in the country where environmental concerns were integrated into the school curriculum. Perhaps more schools should be aligned in that way.

The Chairperson stressed that local government should have an increased monitoring function as their officials were more in touch with communities.

The Chairperson thanked the Department and said that the Committee would support their decisions, providing that a good relationship was maintained between them.

The meeting was adjourned.


No related


No related documents


  • We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: