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Media Statement: Concerns relating to the School Nutrition Programme Eastern Cape

11 May 2023

Attention: Editors and Reporters

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) notes with grave concern the recent media reports on the alleged crisis relating to the administration of the school nutrition programme in the Eastern Cape. It has been reported that learners in the Eastern Cape have gone for almost a month without receiving meals at school due to a delay of 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. 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 reminds relevant stakeholders that basic nutrition and education are 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. 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.                                                             

- Ends –

For further information, contact the SAHRC Provincial Manager, Dr Eileen Carter @ 043 722 7828/072 638 9016 or email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Advocacy and Research Officer, Zukiswa N Mqakanya @ 043 722 7828 or email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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