Members of parliament in Swaziland have accused a government ministry of lying in a report on severe hunger in the kingdom’s schools.

They were told that a crisis that has continued all year was over and that school committees were stealing food intended for children.

A progress reported tabled to the Swazi House of Assembly by Minister of Education and Training Phineas Magagula was rejected. The shortage escalated after the government did not pay its bills to suppliers. The food includes rice, mealie-meal, cooking oil, beans, and peanut butter.

Magagula said on Monday (7 August 2017) that food had been delivered to about 800 primary and high schools in the kingdom. He said government had failed to reach all schools because they could only get eight trucks instead of the 20 needed.

The Swazi Observer reported on Wednesday, ‘The ministry also expressed concern in the manner in which the food was stolen in schools. The report blames school committees for this but this was something that was not accepted by the MPs. A majority of the MPs rejected the report presented by the minister.’ They said no evidence had been given to prove the accusation.

It was reported that 60 percent of schools had closed early for the second term because of food shortages.

In a report in May 2017, the World Food Program estimated 350,000 people of Swaziland’s 1.1 million population were in need of food assistance. WFP helped 65,473 of them. It said it was regularly feeding 52,000 orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) aged under eight years at neighbourhood care points. About 45 percent of all children in thought to be OVCs.

It reported chronic malnutrition affected 26 percent of all children in Swaziland aged under five.

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Publish date : 11 August 2017 | 2:16 pm

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