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Reopening school feeding scheme will lead to more infections: Makhura

14 April 2020 - 16:03 By Ernest Mabuza
Gauteng premier David Makhura has cautioned against opening school feeding schemes during lockdown.
Gauteng premier David Makhura has cautioned against opening school feeding schemes during lockdown.
Image: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Antonio Muchave

Allowing school feeding schemes to open during lockdown could put the lives of children at risk, Gauteng premier David Makhura warned on Tuesday.

Makhura was reacting to calls from non-governmental organisations that wrote a letter to basic education minister Angie Motshekga asking that schools - closed under the lockdown - be permitted to serve as collection points for food packages or pickup-and-go meals tailored for beneficiaries of the feeding scheme.

"If we were to reopen our schools for school feeding, we will be endangering those children. We will be breaking the rules of social distancing," said Makhura.

"Imagine if all the kids were to gather at our schools every day for school feeding. We are exposing them to the danger of infections."

Makhura was in Springs for the official launch of the Ekurhuleni food bank, a single point in the municipality where food donations will be received and then distributed to the needy during the lockdown.

The premier said if schools were to reopen for the purpose of collecting food packages, children would infect each other.

"So we can't entertain that, we can't reopen the schools. The reason the schools are closed [is] we want to protect the kids from the potential danger of infecting each other," he said.

Makhura said a list of beneficiaries that the province intended to distribute food parcels to has been drawn up using existing government criteria.

"Municipalities and provincial government have a list of what these families are and where these families live," he said.

The list is based on assessments done by social workers and includes children getting school nutrition and a school uniform from the government because the family does not have enough income.