While South Africa is food secure at national level, millions of households are food insecure, writes Chantell Witten. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)
While South Africa is food secure at national level, millions of households are food insecure, writes Chantell Witten. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Hunger playing increasing role in the coronavirus crisis

By WINSTON MFEKA Time of article published Jul 2, 2020

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Durban - ESTABLISHED under the uncertain circumstances leading up to the national lockdown, Chatsworth’s Coronavirus Action Committee (Covac) has played an active role in tackling an issue during the Covid-19 pandemic - hunger.

Covac initially raised funds for food hampers that were distributed from the Nelson Mandela Youth Centre. But according to Clive Pillay, the programme co-ordinator at the centre, more needed to be done.

“Poverty is something we all know exists, but the lockdown brought on by the pandemic significantly amplified circumstances, with people unable to work. So, after handing out hampers, we started our own feeding programme which serves 500 to 600 people.”

Pillay said more and more people had been queuing for meals. “Over the course of the lockdown we noticed that people would still be waiting in line for a meal but the pots were empty. So we’ve had to increase our output.”

Black Sash KZN provincial director Evashnee Naidu said the lockdown amplified poverty which, in turn, threatened food security for many.

“Food prices are sky-rocketing despite the government’s best efforts and we’re seeing households having to stretch what little they have. We’re seeing more and more people being pushed deeper into poverty.”

Naidu lamented that not enough was being done to help those in need.

“The systems in place to assist people are not working. The R350 Sassa grant in particular could have helped to alleviate the current problems somewhat but it’s been plagued by its share of problems.

“The government needs to do more to guarantee food safety, but fixing systems related to relief efforts should be a priority as we’ve already seen people waiting since May for their relief grant applications to be approved.”

Daily News

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