Query: Response to reported spoiled maize meal at the disaster Risk Management warehouse in Prosperita that was donated by the Republic of South Africa.
Response: The Office of the Prime Minister would like to state that a total number of 254 bags of 12.5 kg of maize meal, which was part of a donation from the Republic of South Africa, were spoiled by rain at the Disaster Risk Management Warehouse in Prosperita.
The incident took place in February 2016 when the donated consignment of maize meal was temporarily kept at the Disaster Risk Management warehouse in Prosperita before being dispatched to the regions.
The cause of the incident was 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 to be loaded into trucks for delivery to the regions. Upon discovery of the spoiled maize meal, the ministry of Works and Transport was informed and immediately repaired the roof.
Cabinet was informed and directed that such spoiled maize meal should not be disposed immediately; rather the Office of the Prime Minister should establish whether such food could be used for animal feed.
The Office of the Prime Minister 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 Office of the Prime Minister consulted a private company to determine its 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 human consumption. The company is still testing the possibility for animal feed.
The bags will thus remain in the Disaster Risk Management 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.
Directorate Disaster Risk Management, Office of the Prime Minister; 061-435 1001 or 061-287 9111