South Africa: The Unsung Heroes and Heroines of the National School Nutrition Programme Victory


What was most striking was the Department of Basic Education's continued insistence that meals for all qualifying 11 million learners were continuing. The National School Nutrition Programme school surveys conducted by SECTION27 and Equal Education on 23 June 2020, however, provided evidence to the contrary.

Challenges with the rollout of the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) during the Covid-19 lockdown have been unsettling. Those at the coalface, educators and principals, bore witness to the suffering of hungry learners both in classrooms, and in their community. The efforts of principals and educators in trying to salvage the situation, with limited resources and with little support, deserve recognition.

The court victory for the NSNP is as much their victory as it is a victory for learners to eat and exercise their right to education. Principals, educators and school governing board (SGB) members, dared to speak up on behalf of their learners, despite fears of intimidation by their superiors.

On 23 July 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the closure again of public schools for a month effective from 27 July to 24 August 2020. Throughout this period, he stressed that the NSNP will continue to provide meals to all qualifying learners.

This, according...

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