Under normal circumstances, the School Nutrition Programme would feed around 9 million learners, however, due to COVID-19 disrupting the school year and leading to school closures, many children were not able to receive these daily meals.
Which lead to Equal Education taking this matter to court to ensure that these pupils are fed whether or not they are at school.
According to Roné McFarlane from Equal Education, the court order was made however, there was no compliance with the order.
From internal research done at Equal Education, they could see that when these pupils are not at school, due to the school rotational system, they do not receive these meals.
During the court case, the government highlighted the difficulty of rolling out these meals when all pupils are not at school, however, Equal Education provided solutions to this problem.
These solutions included allowing learners to collect these meals from the nearest school when they are at home, to provide these learners with transport so that they can collect their meals from school, and/or provide learners with food parcels that they can take home to use on days when they are not at school.
Although these solutions have been provided to the government, not all provinces have implemented them, which leaves many children without food on days when they are not at school.
McFarlane stated that even a year after this issue arose, the issue still hasn’t been solved, which shows the level of disregard for this matter.
Equal Education has emphasized the importance of communication between the government and school community members, as these members should know that the programme is up and running and that pupils are entitled to a meal even on days when they are not at school.
The organisation has had to step in and make school communities aware of this matter since the government did not.
Equal Education requested that all children are fed by the programme whether or not they are at school.