Equal Education demands audit of school feeding programmes in Limpopo

Activists say there are still learners in Mashashane, Polokwane not getting meals when they’re not at school

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Some learners are still not receiving school meals on the days they are not at school, in spite of a court ruling. Graphic: Lisa Nelson

  • Equal Education says there are learners in Mashashane, Polokwane who are still not getting meals on days they do not attend school.
  • Learners and parents GroundUp spoke to said they were not aware that they could collect food at schools near to where they live.
  • EE has asked the department to survey Limpopo schools to check on the feeding schemes.
  • But the department has asked for more details.

Some learners in Mashashane, Polokwane are still not getting food on days they are not scheduled to be at school, say Equal Education activists in Limpopo.

In July 2020 the North Gauteng High Court ruled in July 2020 that the Department of Basic Education must roll out the National Schools Nutrition Programme (NSNP) to all nine million qualifying learners, whether or not they were attending school.

EE activists say during a campaign in Mashashane last week they were shocked to discover that some learners did not get meals on days they do not attend school. They said learners were not aware that they could pick meals up from schools near their home.

“This is not acceptable. There are no arrangements for learners to pick up food at school or a school near where they live on the days they are not scheduled to be at school. The department must fulfill its constitutional obligation and have clear communication between schools and parents,” said Sibongile Teffo, an EE coordinator in Limpopo.

A grade 11 learner in the area told Groundup that he only received meals twice per week at school. “I have not seen anyone going to pick up food on days we are not at school and no one informed us about that.”

As part of the campaign, about 60 members of Equal Education marched from Mashashane to the conference centre in Matinyane on Saturday.

A 38-year-old mother, who asked not to be named, said she had not known that her children were still eligible to get food in the week. “I’m unemployed so I can not really afford food for my two children. One of my children only attends school twice a week,” she said.

Asked to comment on the issue of school feeding in Mashashane, the education department asked EE to submit a list of schools where learners were not getting meals.

But EE’s Zanele Modise said the department should be in communication with all the schools in the province to find out which were not feeding learners on the days they are not at school.

On 17 March, Equal Education and Section27 in an email to the Minister of Basic Education, Director-General and MECs for Education said that they were reluctant to handover more details about the schools where meals were not being distributed effectively because “of possible intimidation as has been experienced by learners, parents and educators in the past”.

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