Johannesburg – The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Thursday said it “notes with grave concern” reports of a school nutrition crisis in the Eastern Cape.
Learners in the Eastern Cape have reportedly gone for nearly a month without receiving meals at school because there has been a delay in the allocation of funds.
“The impact of malnutrition on learners is well documented and this failure to provide learners with the required nutrition is a potential violation of the learners’ right to basic nutrition,” said the SAHRC.
“Considering the recent provincial hearing held by the SAHRC on this matter, we are deeply disappointed by reports of the situation and will be conducting monitoring to ascertain whether the allocation of funds to the affected schools has been effected by the relevant department in the Eastern Cape government.
“In the event of non-compliance, the SAHRC will investigate whether mitigating measures have been undertaken to address the crisis.”
The SAHRC reminded relevant stakeholders that basic nutrition and education were fundamental rights enshrined in the South African Constitution under sections 28 and 29 of the Bill of Rights.
“We urge the relevant authorities to take swift action to address this challenge and ensure that all learners in the Eastern Cape have access to basic nutrition under the school nutrition programme,” said the rights body.
“The SAHRC will continue to monitor the situation closely and take all necessary steps to ensure that the rights of learners in the Eastern Cape are protected.”