A blunder by the Eastern Cape education department has seen thousands of pupils go hungry at 35 primary schools.
The department mistakenly declared the schools closed as part of its rationalisation programme‚ but the schools are still operating.
Because of the bungle‚ 2‚500 Grade R to Grade 7 pupils at schools in Dutywa and Butterworth have been excluded from the 2018-2019 budget.
They have not received funding since April 1 and the children‚ mostly from poor‚ rural families‚ have been without a nutritional programme since.
Senior officials have known about this since April 17‚ according to an internal memo dated June 12‚ written by the department’s acting director of institutional development‚ support and governance‚ Melikhaya Mancoko.
The department has blamed a “communication hiccup”.
Eastern Cape education department spokesman Malibongwe Mtima said: “These schools are still candidates of rationalisation and realignment‚ but there was a communication [hiccup] that led to this. Currently there is an interaction that’s taking place to ensure everything was communicated well.”