The Gauteng Department of Social Development has once again underspent on its budget. This was revealed in the department’s first quarter report for the 2019/2020 financial year.
According to the report the department underspent by nearly R200 million, yet they are unable to fund Gauteng food banks. Food banks play a critical role in alleviating poverty in our underprivileged townships.
This has prompted GP2 Power Foods to take the department to court after the department stopped all payments to service providers in 2018.
GP2 Power Foods was contracted by the department as part of the group of Food Bank Service providers.
The court has now ordered the attachment of the department’s assets to the value of R236 million.
The R200 million that was not spent by the department could have been used to pay the contracted service providers but instead the department will now have their assets attached.
This is going to cost the department more money, including the payment of legal fees.
Some Food Banks last distributed food parcels in February and March, which means that some residents who are solely dependent on this programme go to bed hungry.
This department constantly underspends on its budget and fails to meets its set targets. Furthermore, it is worrying that the department has no set targets as to how many food parcels need to be distributed per year.
I will be tabling questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to ascertain what measures the department is putting in place to ensure that their allocated budget is spent and by when payments to food banks will resume.