Last year
Cops remove canned fish and lots of other food meant for a school feeding scheme from a suspect's house Photo by Morapedi Mashashe  ~ 

IN THE morning they cook for the children at the school.

But afterwards they run a business – with food meant for hungry kids at a school feeding scheme.


The four women were employed as cooks at a local primary school in Mamelodi, Tshwane.

It appears they took turns stealing the goods meant for poor children.

One of the women even sold the food from her house.

Residents flocked there for months with containers to buy beans, rice and samp which she sold for R2 per cup.

She also sold milk and canned fish.

But residents and spaza shop owners eventually started asking themselves where the woman got the food that she could sell at such low prices.

And then they noticed the woman selling canned fish which was clearly marked for feeding schemes only. That’s how the residents worked out that she was not a good business woman, but a thief who stole from the poor.

However, some residents of Bridge View in Nellmapius, Tshwane turned a blind eye and continued buying the products.

Others did not approve of what was happening. And so a resident of the kasi tipped off Daily Sun about the woman’s business.

On Tuesday the SunTeam went to the woman’s house and bought a carton of milk.

She told the SunTeam to buy canned fish and milk as the foreign-owned spaza shops did not stock them anymore.

The SunTeam promised to return – but took Gauteng Department of Education officials along.

The officials also bought canned fish at the woman’s house as part of their investigation. They immediately reported the woman to cops, who later found stolen food at her house.

She confessed to police that there were five cooks who were all stealing. She took the police to the houses of the other women but only three were found with stolen feeding scheme food.

The resident who tipped off Daily Sun said the woman was not even afraid of being found out.

She said some residents tried to report the woman without success.

“Nobody was interested in hearing our story. It seems the women were organised and were working with a lot of people,” she said.

Mamelodi East police spokesman Captain Michael Mbewe said four women were arrested.

He said the suspects, who are employees at a primary school in Mamelodi East, face charges of possession of suspected stolen property and will appear in the Mamelodi Magistrates Court.

The multi-million rand school nutrition project has been in the news lately because of reports that SGB members in some schools were stealing food meant for pupils.

In recent months, several schools in Tshwane suffered break-ins and theft in which heartless thieves fled with feeding scheme food, among other things.

Last week, two people accused of defrauding the Mpumalanga Department of Education out of R6 million in a bogus feeding scheme were released by the Nelspruit Regional Court on warnings with strict conditions.

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