Honouring those who helped feed the hungry during lockdown
SOCIAL Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu has praised members of the private sector, civil society, religious organisations and churches who provided food to those adversely affected by the Covid- 19 lockdown. With many people losing their jobs and no longer being able to provide for themselves and their families, food insecurity and hunger have increased significantly.
To honour those who stepped forward to help in this time of need, Minister Zulu hosted a virtual stakeholder breakfast event. She was supported at this engagement by KZN Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza, who handed over certificates of recognition to those who had “stood side by side with government” to ensure that people had food to put on the table for themselves and their families.
“This prestigious meeting is about showing appreciation to our national and provincial sponsors and funders who answered our call for help during the Covid- 19 storm,” Zulu said.
“Since joining the Department of Social Development, I always maintained that there is no way that Government alone can address the social ills in our country. It cannot only be Government’s role to deal with poverty, hunger, inequality, teenage pregnancy, single parenting and substance abuse.
“We need the private sector, in particular our non- profit sector, to come on board and partner with us so that together, we build a better South Africa we all want to live in. The NPO sector remains crucial for reaching out and making a positive impact in communities we may not be able to reach as a department. President Cyril Ramaphosa has moved the country to level 1. This pronouncement does not relieve us from proceeding with the implementation of our Risk Adjusted Strategy to manage the spread of Covid- 19 pandemic. Most importantly, the Risk Adjusted Strategy cannot be implemented fully without co- operation and assistance from the NPO sector,” Zulu continued.
“As we move into level 1, all our centres that had been closed since the beginning of the national lockdown, will now re- open and deliver services to our people. However, the re- opening must be done in a vigilant manner to prevent the second wave and further spread of this deadly virus.”
Shifting her focus back to the donors, Zulu expressed her appreciation to all private sector and NPO sponsors who had “contributed immensely to ensuring that many families did not go to bed on empty stomachs”.
“Let me appreciate the contributions from Solidarity Fund, Old Mutual, Unilever, The Spar Group, South African Sugar
Association, Khula Milling, Majesty Oil Mills ( Pty) Ltd, UNDP, South African Brewery, Procter and Gamble, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints.
“More than R66 million was raised through donations from these organisations ( in addition to other national and provincial organisations), and their contributions made it possible for more than six million poor and vulnerable people to receive food donations.
“This would have not have been possible without the support of the generous individuals, civil society organisations and businesses who came forward and donated food and PPE to support government in providing essential services to our people.
“On behalf of the South African Government, I would like to acknowledge and appreciate the generous contributions made by all the donors, including those who have given directly to their neighbouring communities. Faith- based community and civil society organisations must also be applauded for their good work, which is not co- ordinated through the department. We have learnt of the good work done by them across the country – and from the bottom of our hearts, we appreciate your generous efforts.
SPECIAL COVID GRANT
“The Department of Social Development introduced social relief measures in the form of a stimulus package to address the socio- economic impact of the pandemic.
“Through Sassa, we have introduced the R350 Special Covid- 19 Social Relief of Distress Grant for unemployed South Africans. This will be paid until the end of October this year.
“It is intended for citizens who have no income and whose ability to generate income has been adversely affected by the measures imposed by government to limit the spread of the virus. As we see the levels of lockdown being lifted, it is to be expected that some people who had no income under previous levels may now be able to generate some income.
RE- OPENING OF SD CENTRES
“We are preparing for the re- opening of our Social Development centres,” explained Zulu. “This preparation includes the finalising of guidelines for Covid- 19 management in our centres and conducting virtual field testing of these guidelines.
“In addition, more than a thousand Social Development officials and centre personnel will receive virtual training on
Covid- 19 management in our centres.
“Readiness assessments for the re- opening of our centres will be conducted by trained officials to ensure the safety of workers.
“We are putting all these measures in place because the pandemic is still with us, even though we are on level one.
“This does not mean we need to forget everything we have learnt over this difficult period,” Zulu cautioned Social Development workers. “Let us protect our families and those we serve so that we stay safe, even as we prepare to open all sectors of the economy.”
In closing, Zulu reminded the audience about the need for greater awareness of Alzheimer’s – a chronic neurodegenerative disease that affects mainly senior citizens as they advance in years. Its symptoms include difficulty in remembering recent events, problems with language, disorientation, mood swings and loss of motivation.
“Many people are not aware of Alzheimer’s and the symptoms associated with the disease. As such, people suffering from Alzheimer’s are sometimes targeted as witches because their behaviour is incorrectly perceived as strange.
“We have to stop these myth and misconceptions. We all have a collective responsibility to change the way in which we treat persons living with this condition.
“I call on all South Africans to care, shield and protect older persons and uphold their rights as enshrined in the Constitution of South Africa, Older Persons Act 13 of 2006 as well as the 200 Madrid Plan of Action,” Zulu concluded.
National Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu and KZN Social Development MEC, Nonhlanhla Khoza hosted a virtual breakfast event to honour the business and civil society organisations that had donated food parcels to those left destitute during the Covid- 19 hard lockdown. To date, more than 18 200 food parcels have been donated by the private sector, while 56 000 have been provided by government and the National Solidarity Fund.