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WATCH LIVE: Over 58k homes have received food parcels so far - Zulu

The country is still under level 5 lockdown due to the coronavirus and will move to level 4 on Friday.

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu at a media briefing on 24 March 2020 by Ministers in the Social Cluster following the announcement of a national lockdown to contain COVID-19 in South Africa. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu said over 58,000 households have started receiving food parcels through a knock and drop method.

On Wednesday, Zulu said the national department had allocated R20 million and the Solidarity Fund had allocated around R23 million towards these food parcel schemes.

According to the minister, the eligibility criteria has been established for the food scheme. All beneficiaries, all centres catering for the needy and vulnerable are a priority for the Department of Social Development.

HOMELESS SHELTERS ESTABLISHED COUNTRYWIDE

Zulu said 163 shelters for homeless have been set out throughout the country, accommodating over 14,000 homeless people during the lockdown period. She said this number fluctuates as some homeless people ran away from these shelters.

Zulu said a number of support measures had been offered for the homeless, including drug abuse and psycho-social support programmes.

“We need to support the homeless to ensure that they remain in the homes that have been set out for them.”

Some homeless shelters, however, were said to be potential hotspots for COVID-19. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has again called on the City of Cape Town to close the Strandfontein shelter for the homeless.

The organisation said the facility was a potential hotspot for COVID-19 and tuberculosis (TB) infections as the site shelters more than 1,500 homeless people.

GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE INTERVENTIONS

Government has added more social workers to support victims of gender-based violence during the lockdown.

Gender-based violence has been one of the major challenges faced by the social cluster and the SAPS during the lockdown period.

More than 120,000 victims rang the national helpline for abused women and children in the first three weeks after the lockdown started on 27 March - double the usual volume of calls.

Even prior to the lockdown, South Africa has been known to be one of the world's epicentres of violence against women and children.

A woman is killed every three hours in South Africa, according to police statistics - a rate five times the world average. Half are murdered by men with whom they had a close relationship.

Official statistics suggest that more than 110 rapes are reported to the police per day.

Zulu is elaborating on the socio-economic relief interventions on COVID-19 during a media briefing on Wednesday afternoon.

On Tuesday last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a R500 billion COVID-19 economic recovery plan and of that budget, R50 billion would be allocated towards social grants and to also aid the unemployed.

With 4,996 confirmed cases, the country is still under level 5 lockdown due to the coronavirus and will move to level 4 on Friday.

WATCH LIVE: Minister Zulu gives update on socio-economic relief interventions