WATCH: Cape residents who get social grants can't access food parcels, says Alan Winde
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Cape Town - "If you already have a (social) grant, we need to make sure that that food parcel goes to the person that doesn't have a grant," Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said on Thursday.
Winde made the statement while giving an update on the measures that the province is taking to supply food support and food relief to its neediest citizens.
"As we move longer in lockdown, a number of people will not be receiving their wage(s) and income, and not able to buy food and electricity. We have already seen it in our call centres," he said.
The Western Cape, like many other regions in South Africa, is facing a humanitarian crisis following the recent extension of the Covid-19 lockdown. On Wednesday the province’s Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez told Cape Talk that in the previous day alone the province had processed 12 500 calls for food parcels, compared to the usual amount of around 2500 calls.
Premier Winde, in his weekly digital conference, explained how the province is trying to assist those in need of food relief.
"From a national plan, we have South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), and the provincial department of social development (DSD) as well as our education department, then you have local authorities and NGOs," Winde said.
"MEC Fernandez has asked Minister Lindiwe Zulu to open a number of the Sassa offices, which were closed due to the national lockdown because we need to create that space. We have also been requesting - either through Disaster Management or directly through our DSD - extra funding. I've seen another little bit come through."
The premier said that another R3.7 million is coming through to the province. This follows the R53 million additional funding for emergency food relief programmes that the Western Cape Treasury approved on the 4 April 2020.
"That R53m that we put in has been added to the existing social development money they've been spending, which is in excess of R100 million already, and that money goes to children's homes, to the elderly, goes to the vulnerable in society.
"Of course, we've added to that another 50 000 food parcels, which has quite strict criteria there, because we also have 1.6 million people who receive a social grant. So we said, if you already have a grant, we need to make sure that that food parcel goes to the person that doesn't have a grant. That missing middle is what I talk about," he said.
"There are quite strict criteria, and the call centre will deal with those criteria when you call in."
The premier has also commended the phenomenal job that the 8000 NGOs in the province is doing with the soup kitchens, and going out there with food parcels.
"The big issue now is to make sure we are mapping all of the nutrition programmes that are happening across the province, because for me the big concern is, where are the gaps? Who are we missing? It is a big task because it not being funded or directed from one single point."
Premier Winde added that they are "probably going to have to start appropriating more money" because of the lockdown extension, as the R53m that was put in was done before the two-week extension.