News24 Wire
Wire Service
2 minute read
23 Apr 2020
5:54 pm

Gauteng identifies five groups for food assistance, with homeless ‘first priority’

News24 Wire

The MEC has urged non-profit organisations to work with the department of social development to coordinate food distribution.

A man tries to ensure social distancing as homeless people queue to recieve food packages at a food distribution point at Kwa Mai Mai near Maboneng, 13 April 2020. Workers tried repeatedly to ensure social distancing to no avail. SDI Force and the City of Joburg distributed over 470 food parcels to people from the region around KwaMai Mai, Jeppestown and Denver. Although many food packages were distributed a large number of homeless people arrived and could not get any food. They complained that they were not on the lists and that no-one had come to them to get their names. Organisers managed to give a number of them food packages, but many didn’t get anything. They explained that they need the numbers of people to be efficient at distribution as ther is many more people that need food than there is food available for them to distribute. Picture: Neil McCartney

The Gauteng Department of Social Development has identified five targeted groups of beneficiaries, who are supposed to benefit from the food parcel distribution as part of the Covid-19 relief interventions.

According to the acting MEC for the department, Panyaza Lesufi, the five groups are: the homeless; victims of gender-based violence housed in shelters; child-headed homes; the unemployed; and persons with health issues receiving chronic medication but with no means to get food for themselves.

Lesufi said the homeless, however, are the first priority because they have no one cooking and taking care of them, which is why they have been taken to shelters during this time.

He said the food being distributed needed to be audited and the recipients required documentation.

Several reports also suggested that foreign nationals were being excluded from food relief interventions.

On Tuesday, News24 visited Zamimpilo, where the Muslim Association of SA donated food buckets to residents. Foreign nationals were asked to queue separately to receive parcels.

Although the intervention in Zamimpilo did not involve the department, Lesufi said the approach used by his department required people to be appropriately documented.

“If people are not documented to be in the country, it is unfortunate. We will request them to deal with that aspect, so they can be in the queue. We are not discriminating on the basis that you are a South African or not.

“Our approach is that, if you are inside South Africa, appropriately documented and in need of assistance, we will be open-minded to provide that kind of assistance. ”

The department was working with institutions, like the SA Human Rights Commission and Home Affairs, to ensure that people in need of support were not excluded.

The MEC has urged non-profit organisations to work with the department of social development to coordinate food distribution, so as to avoid confusion and duplicating delivery to the same beneficiaries.

“We don’t want to remove [organisations] from distributing and we are saying, let’s do it together and it will assist us,” Lesufi said.

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