Olievenhoutbosch residents queuing for food parcels. File photo: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Olievenhoutbosch residents queuing for food parcels. File photo: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Maimane urges Ramaphosa to intervene on food relief permits

By African News Agency Time of article published May 4, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - Former Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane has asked president Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene urgently to end delays in the issuing of permits to distribute food relief in the midst of the country's level 4 Covid-19 lockdown.

"It can never be acceptable for South Africans to go hungry and we all have a part to play in addressing this crisis," Maimane wrote in a letter to the president.

"In this light, a worrying trend has developed over the past days in which organisations have claimed their applications for permits to distribute food parcels have been frustrated and delayed by government. This means the pressing need to feed our fellow citizens is being held back by administrative ineffectiveness. "

Maimane cautioned that the issuing of licences should not be politicised while, according to a study by the Human Sciences Research Council, 20 percent of South Africans had no money to buy food during the lockdown. 

"It is hunger and desperation that leads to the sobering images seen over this weekend of thousands of residents of Olievenhoutbosch queuing for food parcels," he said, referring to photographs showing people who slept in queues outside Centurion to access food parcels.

"Moreover, it appears government is intent on centralising the distribution of food to those in need. Therefore, on behalf of civil society, companies and organisations, I appeal to you to intervene in this matter. 

"The distribution of food to vulnerable communities cannot be politicised. Rather, the National Command Council

ought to ease the process to obtain such permits so that the very South African spirit of humanity can prosper and we can all act to mitigate against the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown."

Maimane added that government could not consider itself the "ultimate provider and protector of all citizens".

He said this line of ideological thinking stunted the country's potential and led to the looting of state resources.

"During this crisis and time of need, government needs to trust its own citizens as a partner in providing relief to those without."

African News Agency

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