Independent Online

Monday, December 4, 2023

View 0 recent articles pushed to you.Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

‘Death by hunger’: Eastern Cape tragedy caused because there wasn’t enough food

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman. File image

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman. File image

Published Aug 9, 2023


Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman has openly addressed the crippling issue of poverty and starvation in the Eastern Cape following the death of four women.

According to the humanitarian organisation the four women died on August 6.

Sooliman said the women died as a result of death by hunger and are not the first to do so.

“Many such cases have been recorded and closed with the words "no foul play suspected".

“The docket cannot be labelled "murder and death by hunger", this can only be assumed due to recurrent similar incidents.

“The tragic case of the Buso family is yet another example of "no foul play", a mother feeds Rattex to her two younger children, stabs the elder daughter in the neck and then hangs herself presumably because there wasn't enough food to poison all four family members.”

Sooliman said while the circumstances leading to the deaths cannot be proved, the Department of Social Development and the community are unanimous that poverty and hunger are the principal causative factors.

“Gift of the Givers has been commenting for years now on the escalating level of hunger in our country.

“Hunger is an insidious psychological, emotional and physical pain consuming parents as they lose hope and watch in anguish how their children and families waste away.”

Sooliman said the Covid-19 pandemic brought to the fore and accentuated levels of hunger.

“In Peddie a mother collects a food parcel from us and says ‘speak to my children, they will tell you the taste of every plant in the area, they've been eating plants for three months to survive’.”

Sooliman said Gift of the Givers intervened with hundreds of thousands of food parcels.

“This was supported by hundreds of soup kitchens, promoted food gardens for sustainability yet it was never enough.”

Sooliman said their organisation noticed an increasing numbers of children dying from malnutrition in the Eastern Cape in 2022.

“We then expanded our support with R30 million of eezee peanut paste and Genesis, both products being fortified and nutritionally enriched.

“Recently, in every fire and flood disaster we have responded to the levels of hunger were glaring.

“Not only the victims but the community as a whole was hungry long before the disaster.

“We would increase our feeding from a three to a seven day service and include everyone. The gratitude was visible in the eyes.”

Sooliman has called on South African to participate in hunger alleviation.

Donations can be done via:

Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account number 052137228, Branch Code 057525, ref Hunger.

IOL News