Provinces Miss Deadline For School Feeding Scheme

The Basic Education department was recently ordered to provide meals to nine million learners who qualified for the school feeding programme. This included learners who had not yet returned to school. The department has failed to follow through on its court order and this is not a good look. 

Equal Education is angered by all of the provinces who failed to submit a report for the school feeding programme. 

The court ordered each province to not only provide meals, but to also submit a report giving a breakdown of how the school nutrition programmes would work per province.

Eight provinces were given 10 days to report back with a plan explaining the steps they will take to make sure all learners are provided with a meal. The Western Cape is the only province that was not included in the court order, because it never put the programme on hold. 

The provinces were also ordered to give an update to the court every 15 days until the court was happy with the progress. 

The eight provinces have failed to follow the court order, as they missed the deadline to report to the High Court with their plans for the school nutrition programme. 

In her report, Minister Motshekga said the school feeding programme was funded through a conditional grant. She met with Treasury to change the terms of the grant so that the programme could get more funding to feed learners who were not at school, as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

"Funds from the grant can now be spent on providing meals to learners in far-flung areas through alternative means at a minimum of R170 nutritious food items per learner per month," she said

Noncedo Madubedube from Equal Education said they are not impressed with the plan they received from the Minister. 

“We are angry, we are upset that school communities continue to report to us that food is not being made available to every single learner and every single school and this, essentially, was the obligation of the state. We believe that the plan filed by Minister Motshekga is not detailed enough.”

Equal Education was responsible for taking the department to court over the school feeding programme. It was also responsible for asking provincial departments to provide a plan for how the feeding programmes would work.

"We are disappointed in the document filed by Minister Motshekga, which we don't consider to adequately represent any forward planning," said Leanne Jansen-Thomas from Equal Education. 

"We are seeking the advice of our legal counsel on next steps. We’re unable to say any more than that at this stage."

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