Rain spoiled Zuma’s maize donation
A total of 254 bags of 12,5kg of maize meal, which was part of a drought relief donation by South African President Jacob Zuma, through his government, was spoiled by the rain at the Disaster Risk Management (DRM) warehouse in Prosperita.
This is according to Secretary to Cabinet and Chairman of the National Emergency Management Committee, George Simataa, who issued an official statement on the matter this week.
“The incident took place in February 2016, when the donated consignment of maize meal was temporary kept at the DRM warehouse in Prosperita, before being dispatched to the regions.
“The cause of the incident was an undetected leakage in the roof of the warehouse, which at the time, was full to capacity. Even though the bags were neatly packed in stacks, allowing one to move between them, water could not be observed on the floor, as it entered the bags closer to the roof and was absorbed by the maize meal, without wetting the floor. The damage was only detected when the bags were loaded into trucks, for delivery to the regions,” Simataa said.
Upon discovery of the spoiled maize, the Ministry of Works and Transport was informed, and immediately fixed the leaking roof.
“Cabinet was informed and directed that such spoiled maize meal should not be disposed immediately, rather that the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) should establish whether such food could be used for animal feed.
“The OPM consulted the Ministry of Health and Social Services to test and determine if the spoiled food was fit for human consumption. The result showed that the food was not fit for human consumption. Furthermore, the OPM consulted a private company to determine the suitability for animals, but the results again indicated that the food was not fit for animal feed either. “In addition, the Agro Marketing Trade Agency was consulted for a third opinion, and their results also showed that the food was not fit for human consumption. The company is still testing the possibility for animal feed.
“The bags will thus remain in the DRM warehouse at Prosperita, until the outcome of all the tests. Once all the results are out, Cabinet will be informed accordingly and treasury approval will be sought to dispose of the spoiled food.
“In the meantime, government will ensure continuity in the supply and distribution of drought relief maize meal to affected communities throughout the country,” Simataa added.