At­tacked over feed­ing scheme ten­ders

CityPress - - News - PADDY HARPER paddy.harper@city­

Judy Dlamini, KwaZulu-Na­tal’s deputy di­rec­tor-gen­eral of education, sur­vived an al­leged as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempt this week. She be­lieves the shoot­ing was re­lated to the rad­i­cal re­forms she in­tro­duced in school nutri­tion pro­grammes in the prov­ince.

Dlamini, whose car was shot at on Mon­day as she drove from Pi­eter­mar­itzburg to a meet­ing in Dur­ban to dis­cuss the prov­ince’s turn­around strat­egy for education, was not in­jured in the at­tack.

Dlamini, who is re­spon­si­ble for school sup­port sys­tems through­out the prov­ince, had un­til re­cently been pro­tected by body­guards af­ter the depart­ment be­came aware that there were plans to have her killed over changes she had in­tro­duced to the prov­ince’s school nutri­tion sys­tem. Un­der her ten­ure, the school feed­ing sys­tem was changed from one where sin­gle cater­ers were sup­ply­ing up to 300 schools, to one where the cater­ing was be­ing done at a ward level.

“When I was pro­moted to deputy di­rec­tor-gen­eral in 2011, the then MEC wanted to tweak the poli­cies on nutri­tion. We re­alised that the pro­gramme, which is part of poverty al­le­vi­a­tion, was not ben­e­fit­ing the peo­ple who were meant to ben­e­fit. We wanted to in­tro­duce a slic­ing up of the cake as we had a sit­u­a­tion where peo­ple who were al­ready very rich were feed­ing 300 schools at a time with an an­nual turnover of R25 mil­lion to R35 mil­lion,” Dlamini said.

“We felt we needed to lo­calise things at ward level so that the cater­ers were peo­ple from the area. That is what lo­cal eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment is all about. There were re­ports that some very rich peo­ple were un­happy about los­ing a lot of money, and that there was a plan to take my life in re­tal­i­a­tion. I was placed un­der pro­tec­tion for around 18 months un­til it was felt that the threat had dis­si­pated be­cause the func­tion is now un­der the su­per­in­ten­dent-gen­eral, Dr Nkosi­nathi Sishi, af­ter be­ing moved from my of­fice.” Dlamini said she could see no other rea­son for the shoot­ing. “I am a per­son who be­lieves that in govern­ment one should work hard for one’s salary, and that peo­ple who are get­ting paid by the state have to de­liver. I do have fights with peo­ple at work, but it’s all in the line of duty and not some­thing so se­ri­ous,” she said.

“There was no in­di­ca­tion that this was com­ing. I can see no other rea­son. This came as a shock.”

Dlamini said al­though she had had a bad feel­ing on the day of the at­tack, she was “puz­zled” by the in­ci­dent. She has been al­lo­cated body­guards again by the depart­ment. Po­lice spokesper­son Ma­jor Thu­lani Zwane said: “The un­known sus­pect in a white BMW fired shots to­wards her ve­hi­cle, but she did not sus­tain any in­juries. A case of at­tempted mur­der was opened for in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Education depart­ment spokesper­son Muzi Mahlambi did not re­turn calls from City Press re­quest­ing com­ment.

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