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High Court Ruling On School Feeding Scheme

The lockdown left many learners without food, as many of them relied on school feeding programmes which were put to a halt. The high court has reached a ruling ordering the Basic Education department to fix the situation.

The Department of Basic Education has been ordered to immediately provide food to all learners who qualify to be part of the feeding scheme. 

Faranaaz Veriava, head of The Education Rights Programme at Section27 spoke to Cape Talk to explain the ruling.

"They (the education department) announced that schools would reopen, they said they'd roll out the feeding programme to learners that were phased in and also the grades that weren't phased in. Suddenly the minister did a whole u-turn on that."

Veriava said Section27 asked for a declarator that would say Minister Motshekga is obliged to provide the school feeding scheme. Section27 also asked for structural supervision to make sure that the minister followed through with the feeding scheme. 

Veriava says 9.6 million learners would have benefitted from the feeding schemes if the department carried out its original plan to provide meals to all learners. 

"What they have to do now, is within the next 10 days, they have to show a plan for rolling out learners, whether they are back in school or whether or not they are at home."

"Then they have to implement that order, and every 15 days after that, they have to come back and say: 'This is what we are doing, this is what we've done' And they have to provide regular reports of meeting the court order, up until when the court order is discharged."

Veriava says the order is important because the right to education includes the right to basic nutrition. 

She says there has been widespread evidence explaining the effects of learners not having food provided to them. 

"There is a child-headed household, where these two learners go to school and they're on the school feeding scheme and benefit from the meal every day. Without the school feeding scheme, they've literally lived on pap every day since the lockdown."

When asked if the government will appeal the case, Veriava says she is confident that department will follow through with the order. 

"The school feeding programme has been one of the most valuable poverty alleviation measures in this country." said Veriava.


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