Western Cape Premier Alan Winde urged all residents to abide by the law after unrest over food parcels and looting broke out in the province on Tuesday.
“The coronavirus has resulted in widespread economic hardship for many South Africans and we are extremely worried that many vulnerable communities no longer have the means to put food on the table,” Winde said according to a statement.
“In order to respond to this major challenge, during the lockdown, the Western Cape government has assigned R53 million in additional funding which will be used for emergency school feeding, to bolster the Department of Social Development’s feeding programmes and for the once-off creation and distribution of 50 000 food parcels.”
Winde referred to the community unrest that broke out in Mitchells Plain around the distribution of food parcels and the looting in certain areas, such as Manenberg and Athlone.
“This demonstrates the serious humanitarian challenge facing communities across our country, and the need for increased support from Sassa and the national government in addition to our emergency measures. We urge all residents to abide by the law and looting cannot be tolerated.”
He said he was pleased Sassa had started distributing food relief.
“As the lead agency charged with social support to the poor in terms of the Social Assistance Act, they have an important role to play in helping communities through this tremendously difficult time.
“We hope that they continue to do more to help vulnerable communities – in line with their mandate, and we urge the national minister to reconsider her directive closing all of Sassa’s local offices during the lockdown period. We also look forward to working with the national government on its humanitarian relief programmes, and we hope to see these details soon.”
Regarding the Western Cape government’s emergency additional funding which was approved as a result of the lockdown, Winde said each request would be assessed by department officials based on specific criteria.
Department social workers complete the screening and assessments of all beneficiaries to ensure those individuals who are the most vulnerable benefit from the limited food parcels that are available.
The food parcels will support an average household for one month and will be based on the following qualifying criteria:
- Households affected by Covid-19 infections where a family member tested positive for the virus and is in quarantine in their homes and households where a member of the family who tested positive for the virus and who have insufficient means to sustain themselves during the lockdown period.
- A person who is on medication or who suffers from a chronic illness and have insufficient means to sustain themselves, and was assessed and referred by a local clinic or registered health practitioner.
- A person and their household who have insufficient means to sustain themselves during the lockdown period who was referred by a registered humanitarian relief agency, registered NPO or a municipal manager, and assessed by the department. In this instance, persons not yet in receipt of Sassa grants, including the elderly, child-headed houses, grant-awaiting beneficiaries will be prioritised.
“The current situation we find ourselves in is unprecedented and as the lockdown is set to continue until the end of the month, affecting the ability to earn a living across our province, we are likely to see more people needing assistance.
“This is something that is going to take effort from all levels of the government and of society to solve. Now is the time for kindness, empathy and generosity. We know that this is a difficult time for many, but we call on those individuals, businesses and NGOs who are able to assist, to do so,” Winde said.
Meanwhile, infections continue to rise.
“As of 00:01 on 14 April, the Western Cape has recorded 657 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection,” read his statement.
This is 29 more than the 628 cases of the day before.
The vast majority – 548 – are in the Cape Town metropole.
A total of 184 recoveries have been recorded, but there are also 35 Covid-19-positive people being treated in hospitals in the province, with 18 in intensive care.
– Compiled by Jan Gerber