NGOs keen on helping govt with food parcels distribution

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Civil rights group #NotInMyName has called on government to allow them to assist the needy by delivering food parcels, saying NGOs have a better understanding of the needs of various communities.

This after the Department of Social Development called on NGOs, wanting to distribute food parcels, to instead hand it over to the department for distribution – saying the groups may flout lockdown regulations.

There has been controversy around the distribution of food parcels, with some government officials being accused of hoarding or selling the products.

#NotInMyName Secretary General, Themba Masango, says hundreds of people have voiced concerns that they have not yet received food parcels.

“At the moment it is not an official order, it has been a warning in a way – to give over the parcels that we receive from the donors because they feel that they are in a better position to handle the situation.”

”But we know that is not the case because they have been struggling to get to many places and it is NGOs that do the work on the ground, make communities better and understand where the communities are,” explains Masango.

Food parcels corruption and challenges

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has condemned alleged corruption in the distribution of food parcels to the needy during the lockdown period.

Makhura was reacting to the allegations of the South African Civic Organisation (SANCO) in Tshwane that there is discrimination in the distribution of food parcels and that they are not reaching the intended beneficiaries.

Over 400 food hampers are distributed daily.

Makhura briefed the media during his visit to a COVID-19 food bank storage in Watloo, east of Pretoria.

“This food bank must only distribute to people vetted and verified because they must go only to those who are needy. Every family that needs food must be assisted. We are also going to report to the command centre that we are going to need more food as more families continue to come forward,” says Makhura.

In the video below, Makhura says more people are now in dire need of food supplies as a result of the lockdown:

Meanwhile, the African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal is calling on government to investigate allegations that some councillors are involved in the embezzlement of food parcels meant for vulnerable groups during the national lockdown.

KwaZulu-Natal ANC spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu says the party has received complaints from community members that some ANC representatives are keeping the food parcels for themselves.

Mthembu says such behaviour is tarnishing the party’s image.

“It looks like now people are doing a very dangerous thing involving politics in this crisis where people are suffering because of the lockdown situation which is beyond government and beyond everybody.”