One person arrest has been made in the Western Cape after an enterprising thief was alleged to have resold food meant for the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP).

Debbie Schäfer , the province’s education MEC in a statement on Thursday said that she became aware thanks to a member of the public that saw canned pilchards meant for schoolchildren being sold in a shop in Retreat.

She said the cans were clearly labelled and packaged to be used as part of the NSNP, to be exclusively used in schools. 

The incident was reported to police, who have made one arrest, and recovered 18 cans of food. 

“I commend the police for their swift action in this regard, and thank the member of the public for reporting this to us.”

Schäfer committed to following up with the investigation “with great interest” to see how the cans meant for the NSNP ended up “in private hands”. 

She also said “The NSNP is a vital lifeline for our most vulnerable learners. To steal NSNP food is to steal directly from the mouths of children, and it will not be tolerated”. 

Schäfer hoped the incident “serves as a warning” to those looking to steal from schools.