Applicants Heads-of-Argument in the case successfully impugning the failure of the state to feed school children

by | Jul 10, 2020 | Alleviating Hunger, General | 0 comments

In a major court victory for poor learners the Gauteng North High Court on Friday ordered the Department of Basic Education to resume its National School Nutrition Programme for all learners immediately, even if they are from grades that have not yet returned to school. The case was brought by SECTION27 on behalf of Equal Education and two School Governing Bodies in Limpopo and had been opposed by the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga. In the words of Judge Potterill, “the essence of this matter aptly can be captured as “For now I ask no more than the justice of eating.”” The Court declared that access to basic nutrition for learners is a constitutional right that is essential for the realisation of the right to basic education. She declared that the Minister and MECs from eight provinces had violated that right noting that a: “Continued breach by the Minister and MECs will leave millions of children hungry through the cold winter and as long as lockdown lasts. Hunger is not an issue of charity, but one of justice.” In addition, Judge Potterill granted a supervisory order requiring that the Minister and MECs each develop a plan to resume the programme fully (within 10 days) and then submit reports to the court and the applicants every 15 days until the order is “discharged by this Court” after they had met the needs of every learner entitled to food. This judgement is one of the most important statements of enduring constitutional rights in relation to the impact of the lockdown. A full report by Maverick Citizen of the judgment will follow over the weekend. The judgement can be found here.
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