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MAPHALALENI – Pupils should brace themselves for to a bad start in the opening of the third term, as they will learn on empty stomachs.

Apart from the possibility of not having teachers to conduct lessons, hunger pangs will get the better of them. The opening of schools will not be exciting for a majority of pupils with the persistent food shortages in the schools around the country. A visit to a majority of schools by this reporter established that there was once again a serious food shortage in most of the learning institutions. The emergency food which was delivered before schools closed for the second term has already been exhausted. The Ministry of Education and Training had promised that food for the third term would be delivered during the school holidays but none of that has happened. Head teacher of Emabheleni Primary School Sibusiso Ndzinisa said they had finished the food which was delivered even before schools closed for the second term.

“We will be without food if government does not deliver any to us.” Ndzinisa said government, through the Ministry of Education, had delivered about three bags of beans, three bags of rice, 20 litres of cooking oil and 20 litres of peanut butter. Ndzinisa said they were optimistic that government would deliver food as per its promise, as they had been assured that food would be delivered before third term resumes.
“We do not know whether government has started preparations to deliver the food for us. It will be a challenge for most of the pupils as lessons beging on the first day of the term because we are doing revisions,” lamented Ndzinisa.
He said some of the pupils were sick and on medication and depended on the food which was provided at school. She said if they did not get the food at school, the pupils became frustrated and their health was compromised because they came from poor family backgrounds. The head teacher said at times guardians approached the school to enquire about the situation because they were also without food at home and sent the pupils to school with high hopes that they would be fed.

Further, Ndzinisa said some of the guardians were worried and also wanted to make contributions to save the situation. This, he said became a challenge because it was assumed to be top-up fees, yet government stopped it.
Meanwhile, Musa Simelane, who is the Head teacher at Maphalaleni High School, said the pupils should brace themselves for starvation because there was no available food in the school. Simelane said the delivered emergency food was very little and it was already finished when schools closed. However, he said the school would make means of purchasing food from the school’s budget if government did not come through.  He said it would be tough in the first week and they would try purchasing on the second week. In some schools, the situation was much better. Richard Nkambule from Maphalaleni Community Primary said there was remaining food which was left when they closed schools.
“This food will probably last us for two weeks after schools opening.” Nkambule said they were promised by the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education Pat Muir that food would be delivered when schools open for the third term.


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