Gauteng’s most vulnerable residents, who are solely dependent on the Department of Social Development (DSD) for food, face starvation as the provincial food bank’s budget remains largely underspent.
It is unacceptable that DSD would underspend when there is an overwhelming demand for food among Gauteng’s vulnerable population.
According to the department’s third quarter for the 2023/24 financial year, only 17% of the R18 million budget has been spent, which equates to over R3 million. This means that Gauteng citizens in severe need of food have been deprived of 306,000 food packs.
Furthermore, last year, in December, the Democratic Alliance (DA) was alerted that five Gauteng food banks were out of stock. We conducted oversight inspections at the food banks in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni to assess the situation and found that the food banks had indeed depleted.
The DA demands that MEC for Social Development, Mbali Hlophe, prioritise stocking up the food banks to ensure our vulnerable residents have access to food.
Failure to spend food banks’ budget has dire consequences on the lives of our people, who are unable to fend for themselves.
The DA will raise this issue during the next Social Development Committee meeting and request that the chairperson seek clarity from the department on why they have underspent on the food bank’s budget.
A DA government would have provided food parcels to the poor people of Gauteng from food banks and ensured that no money went back to the Treasury at the end of the financial year.