The Eastern Cape Department of Social Development has failed to provide food parcels to thousands of starving households in the province. Since the beginning of the new financial year in April, the Department has distributed food parcels to just 3% of its beneficiaries.
In response to a parliamentary question from the Democratic Alliance, MEC Siphokazi Mani-Lusithi revealed that between 1 April and 10 June this year, just 141 food parcels have been distributed across the entire province, despite identifying 4 452 beneficiaries who require food parcels, or they will starve to death.
I will call on the MEC to explain to the Social Development Portfolio Committee why her Department’s millionaire managers are apparently sitting in their offices, drinking tea and eating biscuits, while our residents starve.
The problem is clearly not due to a lack of funds. Earlier this year, the DA revealed that R67 million provided in Grant Funding to assist the Department meant for food parcels had to be handed back to National Treasury because DSD had failed to spend it.
MEC Mani-Lusithi revealed that no food parcels had been distributed in the Buffalo City Metro or in the Amathole, Joe Gqabi and Sarah Baartman districts, and just one food parcel had been delivered for the entire Chris Hani district!
The OR Tambo district received three food parcels, while Nelson Mandela Bay received 32. The bulk of the food parcels were distributed in the Alfred Nzo district, with all 105 parcels distributed to beneficiaries in the Mbizana Local Municipality.
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Poverty and starvation have drastically increased because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has been further exacerbated by the recent massive hikes in food inflation and general cost of living, yet our government remains unable to deliver food to the people who need it most!
The Democratic Alliance will continue to fight for the people of this province to be provided for and to be taken care of. We need a Department that actually cares about the people of this province, not one that cares only about giving tenders to cadres.