The Department of Social Development in the Eastern Cape’s budget of R45,5 million – which should help with the growing need for the needy and hungry families – is a drop in the bucket that accounts for almost 12% of the needy will be able to help.
The food shortage apparently led to thousands of residents in various parts of the province plundering numerous shops this week. The police and the army were attended to try to stop the looting.
In the northern suburbs of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro area in particular, at least seven stores have been closed since Tuesday morning. Police arrested nine people in connection with the robbery and recovered from the stolen groceries.
By Thursday, the streets were still teeming with police and army vehicles on patrols to stop further looting.
Siphokazi Mani-Lusithi, MEC for social development in the Eastern Cape, acknowledged the province’s R45.5 million social allocation for the 2020/21 financial year is “insufficient” to help the needy families during the Covid 19 pandemic help.
This money is intended to buy food parcels for needy families. R5.9 million has been allocated for each district in the province.
Luzuko Qina, spokesperson for the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) in the Eastern Cape, pointed out that the budget was not just for the state of limitation but for the entire financial year. He says the money is made available during the period without unnecessary red tape to use.
In the Eastern Cape, with the largest unemployment rate in the country, there are 1.2 million households in need of help. 264,312 of the households are without income and need food.
The provincial government budget only provides for the purchase of 33 390 food parcels.
According to Mani-Lusithi, the food parcels that the government provides to needy families contain supplies worth R1 359, which lasts for about a month.