Food to be given to those in need, not along political lines, David Makhura says

14 April 2020 - 13:53 By Ernest Mabuza
Gauteng premier David Makhura (in blue overalls) at the opening of the Springs food bank in Ekurhuleni on Tuesday where he said casual, or piece, workers were 'falling by the wayside'.
Gauteng premier David Makhura (in blue overalls) at the opening of the Springs food bank in Ekurhuleni on Tuesday where he said casual, or piece, workers were 'falling by the wayside'.
Image: Ernest Mabuza

The beneficiaries of food supplied by the government during the Covid-19 lockdown were not identified arbitrarily but according to existing government criteria based on need, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said on Tuesday.

Makhura said this during the official opening of Ekurhuleni's central food bank in Springs.

The food bank has received donations, mainly of food and sanitisers, from businesses in the area, and these donations will be distributed through a ward-based system to the poor during the lockdown.

Makhura said councillors would not be involved in the distribution of food, but would help to identify families in need.

"We want to remove politicians from the food-distribution system. In Tshwane, there were accusations that food was distributed along political lines."

Makhura said the government had distributed food parcels - to last for a month - to 72,000 households since the start of the lockdown on March 27.

Food parcels were distributed to 2,000 households in the province every day, Makhura said.

In a true demonstration of a nation united against a pandemic, a group of pilots has taken the initiative to transport food, medical supplies and medical personnel to remote villages and townships in rural areas across the country. The group named 'The Covid Flight', are pilots who work tirelessly with passion, dedication and commitment to collect food from farms and other collection points and deliver it to citizens in serious need.

Makhura said food supply to the poor was an important weapon in the fight against the spread of Covid-19.

He said that in Gauteng, about 20% of the population, or 3-million people, were food insecure, meaning they were guaranteed food for only four to five days in a week.

Makhura said the list of the indigent in the province included assessments by social workers.

"The list is not informed by political patronage. It is based on need."

Makhura said in the past two weeks, Gauteng was receiving requests from more people who used to work but now were in need of help.

"People who used to do piece jobs are now falling by the wayside," Makhura said.

Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina said the municipality would distribute the parcels to the indigent registered with the city, and would use officials who were dealing with social-development measures.

"However, we have taken note that over and above the indigent database, we will use the provincial hotline to identify more people in need," Masina said.

Many South Africans depend on feeding schemes like the African Children's Feeding Scheme (ACFS) based in Soweto, Johannesburg. The scheme, which has been around for 75 years, provides families with access to nutrition, health and education. The Covid-19 outbreak has however left the organisation with an uncertain future as some of their programmes have been discontinued due to safety concerns.


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