Alex Japho Matlala
2 minute read
25 May 2020
6:30 am

Call to help feed more people affected by Covid-19 in Limpopo

Alex Japho Matlala

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo has called on MEC for Social Development Nkakareng Rakgoale to increase the provision of food parcels to those in need of food relief in response to Covid-19’s impact on their livelihoods.

File image. Food parcels that are to be handed out to community members at the Denver Mens Hostel arrive. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

But while the MEC commended the work done by businesses that continue to plough back into their communities, she also admitted that her department’s distribution on food parcels could improve.

As of 13 May the provincial department of social development has distributed 54,253 food parcels to destitute and indigent people who desperately need food aid for their families to survive during and after lockdown.

However, the department has received 104,182 social relief of distress applications from people desperately in need of the food parcels while the province has 1.7 million people who are considered food insecure.

The DA said yesterday that the department’s current intervention was not enough to address the province’s substantial food security challenges and that urgent intervention was needed.

“We are also deeply concerned that the Waterberg district municipality does not have a functional food bank, which will make it hard to ensure transparent and fair distribution of food parcels in the district. This further eliminates issues such as politicisation of food parcels and double dipping,” said DA provincial spokesperson for social development and member of the provincial legislature Katlego Phala yesterday.

“We are aware some donors may choose to directly deliver their food relief but a food bank should still be functional for the department’s own food parcels.”

Phala said the lockdown has left many households cash-strapped, unable to earn wages and vulnerable to hunger and possibly starvation.

“It is critical that lockdown restriction levels are lowered and more sectors of the economy are allowed to operate to allow more households to earn an income and become self-sufficient,” said Phala.

“We acknowledge the department’s efforts and the significant assistance from the department’s partners and donors, but their plans to target 50,000 households with social relief packages for six months at a cost R550 million, while commendable, is not enough to address the challenges Limpopo’s most vulnerable households are currently facing.”

Prominent Limpopo businessman Mpho Mahloho of the Mahloho Foundation yesterday spent the better part of the day distributing food parcels to the Thulamela and Musina municipal areas.

Mahloho has undertaken to spend no less than R2 million to assist government to feed the poor during and after lockdown.

“I have set enough money to feed more than 800,000 hungry people in Venda and beyond,” said Mahloho.

In response, Rakgoale said her department was indeed struggling to feed all the hungry mouths which needed food parcels to survive during lockdown.

“We would like to urge other business people to take notes from Mahloho and help us with donations to feed our people during this period,” she said.

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