Gauteng Premier David Makhura says restoring the school feeding scheme during the lockdown would endanger the learners’ lives and violate COVID-19 regulations.
A group of Non-Governmental Organisations including Equal Education and Section 27 have reportedly written a letter to Education Minister Angie Motshekga to restore the national school nutrition programme to benefit the estimated nine million vulnerable children.
In the video, General Secretary of Equal Education, Noncedo Madubedube, says the Basic Education Department needs to ensure that learners still receive food:
A number of households are food insecure and for many children the free school meal was their only one for the day.
Makhura says he cannot entertain such a request at the moment.
“If all the kids were to gather at our schools everyday for the school feeding, we are exposing them to the dangers of infections. They will infect each other. We can’t entertain that. The reasons the schools are closed, we want to protect the kids.”
COVID-19 food bank launched
Earlier, Makhura said food parcels will only be given to those who need them most and not those who are politically connected. He was speaking at the launch of a COVID- 19 food bank in Ekurhuleni on Gauteng’s Eastrand.
#COVID19 | Premier @David_Makhura joined the executive mayor of @City_Ekurhuleni, @mzwandileMasina at the opening of the City’s Central Food Bank at the Ekurhuleni Fresh Food Market, in Springs. Thank you to all donors who continue to play a part in the fight against COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/WOTGyUxlP6
— GautengGov (@GautengProvince) April 14, 2020
The food bank is one of several in the province which have been opened to collect food donations for distribution to the poor through a ward-based system.
Makhura said they will ensure the food reaches the needy. He said that over 3 million people in Gauteng are food insecure, meaning they do not have enough food to last them for a week.
Makhura said those who qualify for food parcels will be identified through the municipality’s list of indigent families, but this, too, will need to be scrutinized by social workers to ensure that deserving families get food.
Families, whose children already get food as part of the school nutrition programme, will automatically qualify for food assistance.
Makhura said there are five distribution points across Gauteng providing thousands of households with food each day.
The food banks are distributing food to 2000 households with supplies that will last for a month. A big thank you to NPO’s and businesspeople who are supporting our efforts to reach all needy families. #COVID19 #GAUTENGCOVID19
— David Makhura (@David_Makhura) April 14, 2020