Hon­our­ing those who helped feed the hun­gry during lock­down

Daily News - - OPINION -

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.”

ALZHEIMER’S AWARE­NESS

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.

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