Concern regarding learners being targeted by criminals while on their way to and from the emergency school feeding programme in the province are mounting. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA).
Concern regarding learners being targeted by criminals while on their way to and from the emergency school feeding programme in the province are mounting. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA).

Covid-19 lockdown: Criminals mugging pupils walking to and from feeding programme

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Apr 15, 2020

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Cape Town - Concern regarding learners being targeted by criminals while on their way to and from the emergency school feeding programme in the province are mounting.

ANC deputy chief whip in the provincial legislature and the party’s spokesperson on education Khalid Sayed said some learners have to collect the food and on returning, face criminals and bullies who rob them of their food. “If they make it home with their meal, they have to share it with multiple family members. These children become targets in areas where many go without food.”

Sayed said while they agreed with the principle of feeding poor learners, they differed with the method the Western Cape Education Department employed in reviving the learner nutrition programme - expecting minors to walk to school and back alone on weekdays and risk contracting the virus in the streets.

“WCED should stop what they are doing, change their method of handing out at schools and allow the provincial department of social development (DSD) and their helpers to take the food either to people where they live or points accessible for communities where adults can collect the food. The process must be led by DSD and not principals and teachers. The WCED irresponsibly endangers children with its present practice,” Sayed said.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said: “The body that should be taking charge of this humanitarian crisis, namely Sassa, would be taking up their responsibilities. But, under the aegis of the national department of Social Development, Sassa has closed their offices during lockdown.

“Security concerns are real, which is why we have had discussions with law enforcement authorities, which have agreed to assist where possible to ensure children are safe and go straight home once they have collected their food.”

@SISONKE_MD

[email protected]

Cape Argus

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