1 July 2020

Joint media alert: School nutrition court case to be heard tomorrow, to ensure that education departments honour string of promises to provide meals to all nine million learners

Tomorrow, Thursday 2 July, the urgent case brought by Equal Education (EE) and two Limpopo schools to ensure that meals are provided to the over nine million learners who are eligible to benefit from the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP), will be heard in the North Gauteng High Court. We are represented by the Equal Education Law Centre and SECTION27.

While the pressure of litigation has spurred the national and provincial education departments into making promises to roll-out the NSNP in all schools, various implementation dates have been put forward, and have not been honoured. We have spoken to learners and caregivers in various provinces who still wait for these commitments to be realised – either receiving no meals at all or being provided with insufficient portions.

We are asking the court for a declaratory order that there is a duty on the government to ensure that meals are provided to all learners who qualify to benefit from the NSNP, regardless of whether they returned to school on 8 June.

We are also asking the court for a structural order that requires the national and provincial departments to – within five days of the court order – each provide detailed information on implementation to ensure that the commitment to fulfil their constitutional obligation is honoured. Every two weeks, detailed progress reports on implementation must be filed with the court.

Read our heads of arguments filed with the court here. Read our previous statements on this matter here and here. Tomorrow’s hearing will be virtual, and journalists wanting access must make this request of the Secretary of the presiding Judge, as explained in this document.

The NSNP is fundamental to supporting the ability of children to learn and crucial to the right to basic education. For every day that the education departments fail to abide by their commitments and duties to reinstate the NSNP, learners rights continue to be violated. It is our hope that the court will take the steps necessary to ensure that they comply with the Constitution.

#SchoolMealsNow #9MillionMeals #FamiliesNeedNSNP

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To arrange an interview, contact:

Leanne Jansen-Thomas (EE Head of Communications) 079 4949 411 leanne@equaleducation.org.za

Julia Chaskalson (SECTION27 Communications Officer) 083 440 2674 chaskalson@section27.org.za

Tad Khosa (EE Law Centre Media and Communications Coordinator) 081 346 0180 tad@eelawcentre.org.za