Protest over food parcels in Mthatha

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Social Relief of Distress programme, that is handing out food parcels to the needy people, encountered a protest at Ngangelizwe township in Mthatha.

The community is accusing community leaders of being unfair in the process of choosing beneficiaries.

Police and South African National Defence Force members had to be called to control the protesting community members.

Law enforcement officials used stun grenades and teargas to disperse the mob.

South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) Regional Manager in the Eastern Cape Bandile Maqethuka says this is the only area where they encountered a problem.

“This is the only area where we have encountered a problem. The problem is not the food that we are bringing. The problem is with the process followed by the community leaders. Some of the people are disowning the entire process. They are saying  the process was not credible. However, as Sassa, we do not want to get into to the political space. Ours is to do our administrative processes  and ensure that the deserving people do get food. That is why we are here. “

In the video below, residents say they do not know how the list of beneficiaries of food parcels was compiled: 

Maqethuka has reminded people that Sassa is targeting people that live under extreme poverty.

“We are looking for people who are facing hardship. Therefore, these ones are not our priority for now, but when we get additional funding, we will also look for those who are getting child support grant because we know the money is for the children; it’s not for them. And therefore, we are not disappointed at all. 90% of our operations are going smoothly in the entire province .”

Speaking on behalf of the community of Ngangelizwe,  Msuthukazi Koni -Bango says the process of registering needy people flawed.

“The problem is that the process of delivering food is so flawed. It’s full of flaws. People are protesting. They are just showing their frustration … their dissatisfaction that the process was wrongly done. The councillor and her ward committee at Ward 2, they just pick up and choose those people that they want to give food parcels.”

In the area of Qunu, Rose and the surrounding villages of Mthatha the process of delivering food parcels went well without any hindrance.

Sassa officials have called on community leaders and politicians not to divide people at the expense of the social relief of distress programme.