Thousands of underprivileged Gauteng learners will yet again be deprived of access to much-needed school uniforms due to the Gauteng Department of Social Development’s (DSD) failure to follow proper procurement processes.
The department was not honest when it claimed in a recent briefing that the Supply Chain Management tender was suspended due to the Constitutional Court Judgement on Preferential Procurement Processes Regulations, 2017.
However, the judgment was suspended for a period of 12 months, valid till 26 January 2023, allowing departments to continue with the procurement of contracts.
For this reason, the National Department of Social Development successfully secured 12 cooperatives to supply 6151 school uniforms in Gauteng through proper tender processes.
Five years in a row, Gauteng DSD has constantly failed to spend the budget for school uniforms and dignity packs because they cannot resolve the specifications and tenders to cooperatives.
In the previous financial year, 636,119 or 30.2% of dignity packs were distributed compared to the target of 2.1 million dignity packs. 1,463,881 learners did not access dignity packs.
151,797 or 65.4% of school uniform packs were distributed compared to a target of 232,098. This means that 80,301 learners were denied access to school uniforms.
Gauteng DSD must stop shifting the blame for its incompetence and do better to spend the department’s budget to serve our poor and struggling communities.
Learners across the province continue to suffer because this department lacks the political will to ensure learners have access to school uniforms and dignity packs.
The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC of Social Development, Mbali Hlophe, must put urgent processes in place to ensure that contracts are awarded to cooperatives for Gauteng learners to be supplied with uniforms come January 2023.
The DA will continue to fight and expose this department’s incompetency to ensure our children’s dignity is restored through the provision of dignity packs and school uniforms.