Extra R25m given to Western Cape’s food relief programme
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Cape Town - The Western Cape government has added R25 million to its nutritional relief support initiative, in the hope of shouldering the anticipated spike in food insecurity across the province due to the termination of the R350 unemployment distress grant last week.
Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez announced the department’s move to increase its financial support to its nutritional programme on Tuesday in a statement.
According to Fernandez, as part of the Western Cape Government’s Recovery Plan, the Department of Social Development (DSD) had availed R25 million for food relief programmes.
“We remain aware of the food crisis that we are facing in the city, province, and the country as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic impact thereof. This while the DSD has made additional funding available for humanitarian relief.
“I am concerned that thousands of vulnerable people will find themselves without any form of state support as a result of the special R350 Covid-19 SRD Grant that came to an end on April 30, 2021.
“I wish to appeal to the National Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, to urgently intervene to avert a potential humanitarian crisis.”
In efforts to expand its reach, the department has partnered with several non-government organisations to complement existing service delivery by providing support to 353 community kitchens to provide relief to an additional 107 450 beneficiaries. It has also partnered with a service provider to pilot a voucher system to 250 identified community kitchens to provide relief to 15000 beneficiaries.
“I am aware that many organisations and people are suffering from donor fatigue at this stage. However, I believe that for us to get through this challenging period, each of us has a part to play. Only through a whole of society approach, engaging all sectors of society, can we fight food insecurity in the Western Cape,” said Fernandez.
Former R350 Covid-19 SRD grant recipient Lakeetha Samson said that while the grant had not been a lot of money, it had helped her put something on the table for her and her family over the past year.
“This is a terrible situation for us. Without the grant I don't know where to even start, It will be back to nothing for many of us,” she said.
Atlantis resident Sarah Salie said without that R350 grant, people are going to need even more support.
“Our numbers have already begun to grow. Food insecurity in this country is a big problem and I wish the government could assist more soup kitchens so we can help the people,” she said.