IT'S high time that the Education Department takes the school nutrition programme very seriously. I am saying this because we, the suppliers, experience a big problem with the nutrition committees in the schools.
Firstly when you go to ask them to give you an order form, they will tell you they only give out forms to three suppliers for quotes. What criteria do they use to select those three, instead of giving out to as many suppliers as possible so that the suppliers can quote and then the schools can select the cheapest price?
To hand out the forms they can even charge R5 per page for their photocopy costs to be covered.
Some of the schools during the interviews have the gall to ask you what you are going to do for the teachers in case you have been appointed. Do they do that to Makro and Desai's when they supply them? They do not.
As I am writing this letter on Sunday September 29 most of the schools, if not all of them, have not made any selections for this term and they will announce the selected bidder a day before delivery and expect you to deliver a good service, instead of at least giving suppliers a month in advance to prepare for the delivery. Almost all the schools knew that the current suppliers' term ended on September 30.
Why was the selection not done at the end of August and suppliers informed so the chosen company could prepare on time for service delivery?
School nutrition committees must stop asking for money from the suppliers as if they are doing the suppliers a favour for appointing them. There is nothing wrong with asking for a donation when there is going to be an activity in that school, but they must not force the suppliers.
A donation is a donation.
A good example is one school in Uitenhage. It issues as many order forms as it can to suppliers, then it has a tender box where you drop your quote in a sealed envelope.
The school even checks whether the supplier is registered with the department on its database.
A concerned supplier, Port Elizabeth