Covid-19 led to millions of South Africans falling below the poverty levels, 10 mln people left without food: Zulu
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Cape Town – The impact of Covid-19 has led to millions of people falling below the poverty levels with Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu saying 10 million were left food insecure after the pandemic struck.
Zulu said measures were being taken to help those in need of food.
She said out of the 10 million people who were food insecure, 3 million of them were children.
When the pandemic broke out last year it emerged that most of the people were without food.
This led to President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce a stimulus package to help with relief measures for businesses, the unemployed and other people and sectors affected by the pandemic.
Zulu, who was replying to written questions from the EFF, said the issue of food security is a big issue in the country.
“The number of persons that were food insecure (inadequate or severe inadequate access to food) before Covid-19 was about (20% of households) in the country (Stats SA 2019),” said Zulu.
“The number of people that are currently food insecure as in April/May 2021 was approximately 10 million people and 3 million were children (NIDS-CRAM, 2021),” she said.
“According to the NIDS-CRAM Wave 5 estimates and StatsSA’s 2020 mid-year population estimates, approximately 2.8 million households (with 10.6 million residents) were affected by hunger in April/May 2021.
“The measures in place to address the overall food insecurity include the provision of safety nets – such as food relief through nutrition support centres, food parcels and various types of social grants, including the recently re-introduced Social Relief of Distress Grant of R350 per person. Social Relief of Distress is also provided in the form of cash and vouchers on a temporary basis to support households in distress,” said Zulu.
The government recently announced that 9 million people had applied for the SRD grant.
This was after Ramaphosa revived the SRD programme until the end of March next year.
The government was also looking at whether to extend it beyond March and if this was sustainable.