WC govt in bid to map, co-ordinate food relief efforts

In the past week, there have been complaints from communities that they are being left to starve.

Ramzi's Food is cooking large pots of akhni to be distributed to communities in Brooklyn and surrounding areas. Picture: Ramzi's Food/Instagram

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape government is trying to reconcile multiple different food relief efforts underway in the province.

On Day 22 of lockdown, many families are without the daily wages that sustained them and with no way to make money, they are entirely reliant on the state and NGOs just to put food on the table.

In the past week, there have been complaints from communities that they are being left to starve.

But provincial and national government have repeatedly promised that the hungry will be fed.

So what is going wrong in the process?

Before the lockdown started, the Western Cape government appropriated R53 million from elsewhere in the province's budgets to pull together food parcels for the most vulnerable.

That was in addition to the provincial Department of Social Development’s R100 million that goes to support children's homes and old age homes.

At a national level, Sassa is also on a drive to ensure those who have no access to food get what they need to sustain them.

There are also thousands of NGOs that are delivering food parcels, running soup kitchens and delivering meals.

With no central authority controlling all these activities, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said: "The big issue now is to make sure that we're mapping all of the nutrition programmes that are happening across the province so that for me, the big concern is where are the gaps, who are we missing and this is a big task, because it’s not all funded or directed from any one single point."

Under the lockdown, with no chance of finding daily work, many families are now entirely reliant on the state for their daily meals and as frustration grows, so have violent actions.

Mitchells Plain residents took to the streets to demand food parcels. Three were arrested in the process and a short distance away in Gatesville a group stormed a grocery store and made off with cash registers and groceries.

The provincial call centre can be reached at (0860 142 142 or 0800 220 250) and a please call me line (079 769 1207) has also been established for people to call in and request assistance for themselves or for others in need of help.

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