Gauteng Premier David Makhura says food parcels will only be given to those who need them most and not those who are politically connected. He was speaking at the launch of a COVID- 19 food bank in Ekurhuleni on Gauteng’s Eastrand.
The food bank is one of several in the province which have been opened to collect food donations for distribution to the poor through a ward-based system.
#COVID19 | Premier @David_Makhura joined the executive mayor of @City_Ekurhuleni, @mzwandileMasina at the opening of the City’s Central Food Bank at the Ekurhuleni Fresh Food Market, in Springs. Thank you to all donors who continue to play a part in the fight against COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/WOTGyUxlP6
— Gauteng Provincial Gov (@GautengProvince) April 14, 2020
Makhura says they will ensure the food reaches the needy. He says that over 3 million people in Gauteng are food insecure, meaning they do not have enough food to last them for a week.
Makhura says those who qualify for food parcels will be identified through the municipality’s list of indigent families but this too will need to be scrutinized by social workers to ensure that deserving families get food.
Today I’m visiting food banks across the province to ensure a fair process of food distribution. The system must be about reaching the 20% of Gauteng residents who are food insecure. There should be no patronage networks and no political interference in all processes. #COVID19SA pic.twitter.com/teNTRsmNkA
— David Makhura (@David_Makhura) April 14, 2020
Families, whose children already get food as part of the school nutrition programme, will automatically qualify for food assistance.
Makhura says there are five distribution points across Gauteng providing thousands of households with food each day.
So far, 72 000 people have been assisted since the start of the lockdown three weeks ago.
Challenges in distributing food parcels
On Monday, Gauteng Social Development Departmental Head Thembeni Mhlongo urged the Eersterust community in Pretoria to exercise patience regarding the delivery of food parcels.
Destitute families in the community said despite government’s promises they have not received any food parcels.
In the video below, community members plead with government to help them with food:
The families say since they were prohibited from doing temporary work under lockdown, they have been struggling.
Mhlongo says her department’s teams will soon deliver food parcels to residents of Eersterust.
“Our team is working. It’s just that there are some people who want us to deliver for a large group of people and that is in contravention of the lockdown regulations. We cannot do that. What we do is to deliver at the doorstep of beneficiaries. “