Court orders the basic education department to feed eligible learners

Our Pretoria reporter│ 19 July 2020 │ 14:00

The High Court in Pretoria has ruled in favour of an application lodged before it by an NGO, Equal Education, seeking a declaratory order to obligate the Department of Basic Education to ensure that qualifying learners benefit from the National Schools Nutrition Programme (NSNP).

The court ordered the minister and MECs of basic education to implement the NSNP, ensuring that every eligible learner is provided with a daily meal.

The Basic Education Department defended that the scheme was discontinued as initially rolled out due to schools’ closure following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Presiding Judge Sulet Potterill found the Minister, Angie Motshekga and education MECs of eight provinces in violation of their constitutional and statutory duties by not continuing with the schools feeding programme that provides meals to over nine million children as the country went under lockdown.

The Western Cape education MEC was found to have remained compliant with the programme, irrespective of whether learners had returned to school as Grade 7 or Grade 12.

Judge Potterill said the programme is a life-saving programme for the poorest of the poor child and must be saluted.

The NSNP was rolled out to benefit learners irrelevant of whether or not they are attending school or studying away from school as a result of the COVID-19.

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