Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina said the municipality has managed to distribute more than 18 000 food parcels to households – but has “not spent a cent”.
Masina received food parcel donations to the value of R250 000 from the Progressive Business Forum, under the office of ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile, at the Ekurhuleni Food Bank in Springs on Thursday.
Masina said the business forum was one of the municipality’s 96 donors.
“We’re supplying food to everyone in need. To date we have received donations to the value of more than R7 million,” Masina said.
He added that more than 2 600 parcels had been supplied to hostels and additional packages were distributed to six informal settlements in the area.
“We’re working with sports bodies, gay and lesbian organisations, sex workers, four homeless shelters and more than 400 churches. Our intention is to reach more than 50 000 households,” he said.
We set up a Covid-19 team to engage with the business community, so that businesses can support the destitute families and non-governmental organisations with the problem of hunger.
South Africa has seen protests erupt over the distribution of food parcels in various provinces since the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus took effect in March.
Masina assured donors that the municipality was doing its best to ensure that the parcels reach those in need.
“None of our councillors are distributing food. This is not because we don’t trust them, but we want to ensure that relevant officials are doing that job.
“Councillors identify those in need. Those identified are verified and supplied with the parcels. We’re working with all political parties and the counsel to ensure oversight,” he said.Read: ANC, SACP Mpumalanga leadership at loggerheads over Bushiri food donation
The municipality, he added, was taking the necessary precautions to ensure that the food is suitable for consumption.
“Health inspectors come and check that the food is fit for consumption, so that we don’t supply food that is going to kill people.
Workers package food parcels at the food bank in Springs.
“We also ensure that we package food that will last families for the whole month so that we don’t go there regularly,” Masina said.
“We realise that we must prepare to distribute for a longer period and we’re grateful to those who donate and distribute the parcels.”
Progressive Business Forum representative Sipho Mbele said that the aim was to fight the problem of hunger nationally.Read: Soweto residents go hungry: ‘We are living from hand to mouth’
“We set up a Covid-19 team to engage with the business community, so that businesses can support the destitute families and non-governmental organisations with the problem of hunger.
“We were in the Western Cape recently and we want to ensure that everyone has access to food nationally,” he said.