The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is deeply concerned that thousands of hungry residents only received food parcels once from the Gauteng Department of Social Development since the inception of the national lockdown period in March due to the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
This was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Nomathemba Mokgethi while responding to the DA’s oral questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s (GPL) virtual sitting.
According to MEC Mokgethi, the department has received 241481 food relief applications from March to May. Of these applicants, none have been re-issued with food parcels.
The MEC stated that the second round of food parcel distribution will only be done as soon as the number of new applications subsides and depends on whether the foodbanks’ stock is replenished in large quantities so as to meet the demand. This is concerning because the department also underspend on food parcels and dignity packs distribution in the fourth quarter of the 2019/20 financial year.
The actual number of food parcels distributed were 52 185 against a target of 108 433. The actual dignity packs distributed were 228 852 against a target of 464 000. The underspending in these two areas come to R22 097 392,00 and R76 714 715 ,00 respectively .
It is worrying that there are some families who do not have any source of income during this difficult period and are solely dependent on government’s food relief programme and, that they have last received food parcels in March.
This means that many families are starving yet they do not know when they will receive the second round of food parcels.
This food relief programme is for a maximum of three months and the beneficiaries are supposed to have received food parcels three times over this period.
The DA calls on MEC Mokgethi to speed up the process of issuing food parcels to ensure that no one suffers from starvation. The MEC should consider other alternatives such as food vouchers and e-wallet cash deposits to ensure that all beneficiaries have access to food.