Ramaphosa observes food packaging in Johannesburg

Cyril Ramaphosa

Image: Twitter:@GovernmentZA

The group says government has finally responded to the needs of millions of the most vulnerable South Africans, who have been forced to live without income and with extreme hunger for a month.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday observed the packaging of food parcels, at the Johannesburg Central Food Bank in Booysens. The parcels will be distributed to communities in need of food amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Speaking with the Acting MEC for Social Development in Gauteng Panyaza Leseufi, on the introduction of e-vouchers to assist people to get food, the President jokingly referenced to the Pilchards contained in the parcels as one of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s favourite food.

“We are going to take 10% of what we have now then introduce the e-voucher where people can just get it on their cellphone or they can just get the actual card and then exchange it. So we are doing the compilation of spaza shops that can receive it and then ensure that they give people the rest and it will also empower spaza shops to stock up on these things. As you can see these are top brands,” he said.

In the video below,  SABC’s Vusi Khumalo reports on the launch of a food bank in Richards Bay:

Gauteng government inundated with requests for food parcels

Hunger, desperation and uncertainty are just some of the effects of the lockdown. With the extension, some have lost out on their income stream, yet stomachs have to be filled.

This has resulted in thousands turning to government so they too can be provided with some relief.

The Gauteng Department of Social Development says it has been inundated with calls and requests for food parcels from hungry citizens. According to reports, at least 7 000 requests for food parcels a day have been received in Gauteng.

The high call volumes resulted in the shutting down of the call centre.

Not everyone qualifies to receive food parcels 

The government’s food relief programme prioritises the sick, children, the elderly, the homeless and those who have no income due to the lockdown.

Gauteng Department of Social Development’s  Thabiso Hlongwane says by last week Friday, 8 000 families have been assisted and more are to benefit from the social relief programme.

“The Department of Social Development established what we call a central food bank where food donations will be sent. The central food bank will feed all five food banks in the five regions. As a result, the lists are still coming in and people are still getting food. We are calling for people to be patient with us because we cannot provide food at one go as we are dealing with a high volume of people who need assistance. Those that qualify, you must be an unemployed citizen, and the combined income of your family to be below R3 600.”

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