The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the eight rouge Education MECs and the Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga to immediately present clear and concise plans to the North Gauteng High Court on the implementation of the National Schools Nutrition Programme (NSNP) within their provinces.
The Minister's plan should include the steps taken to ensure a daily nutritious meal for learners; a clear instruction note to provincial MECs to present their respective plans to the court; and how budget shortfalls will be addressed.
We are appalled by the fact that Education MECs have undermined the integrity of the court and shown disdain to poor and vulnerable learners by failing to adhere to a court order to present their progress in reintroducing NSNP at schools across the country.
Since the start of the extended lockdown, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) supported the total reopening of the NSNP to ensure that learners do not experience secondary trauma of hunger and malnutrition. We commend the WCED and Western Cape Education Minister, Debbie Schäfer, for their continued commitment to the children of the province and we express our thanks to schools that have gone the extra mile to ensure that the school feeding scheme is continuing.
Minister Motshekga's indecisiveness on the NSNP is a failure to acknowledge the real plight that school going children experience on a daily basis. It is shocking that the Minister and the eight provincial education MECs are willing to subject millions of children to hunger by keeping the NSNP closed during the lockdown. Civil society had to fill the gap left by Departments of Basic Education (DBE) and Social Development's (DSD) disinterest to have proper plans in place.
Clearly the announcement that from 22 June 2020 all learners were to receive food was a farce and is just another indication that there is a gap between what the Government announce and what they actually deliver.
We urge the eight rogue MECs to immediately present their plans to the courts, in order to end the suffering of millions of children across the country. The DA will closely monitor these plans going forward and will not waiver in holding the DBE and provincial Education departments to account.