President Cyril Ramaphosa says he’s both disturbed and disgusted by allegations of hoarding or selling of food parcels earmarked for the needy by some government officials and members of the public.
Some people have also been accused of diverting the food parcels from the destitute to their friends and families.
In his weekly letter to the nation, the President says those really in need should not have to wonder where their next meal will come from.
He says government will scale up welfare provision to help households living below the poverty line and finalise a set of measures to respond to the impact of the lockdown on people’s livelihoods.
From the desk of the President – Monday, 20 April 2020 –https://t.co/M5Gxl7uJsm . Many countries around the world have imposed coronavirus lockdowns with a view to saving the lives of their citizens. pic.twitter.com/hh7Na4IYsW
— Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) April 20, 2020
Ramaphosa says the lockdown has exacerbated South Africa’s long standing challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, which are a result of both apartheid and post-apartheid government failings.
Ramaphosa acknowledges the provision of support in recent weeks to the most vulnerable has been slower than required and lapses have occurred.
He says following ongoing engagements with social partners, government will this week unveil the direct interventions it will take to shield South Africa’s poorest from the grim prospect of starvation.
Last week Gauteng Premier David Makhura 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.
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
Makhura briefed the media on Tuesday during his visit to a COVID-19 food bank storage in Watloo, east of Pretoria.
In the video below, Makhura says more people are now in dire need of food supplies as a result of the lockdown: