Crowds queue in PMB for 'food vouchers'

2009-03-17 00:00

There was a rush for food vouchers at the Bombay Road Civic Centre yesterday, raising more questions about the distribution of food vouchers in the run-up to the elections.

Residents from various parts of the northern suburbs in Pietermaritzburg queued outside the centre from Sunday night hoping to receive food vouchers yesterday - allegedly promised by the Social Development Department.

Some slept outside overnight so that they would be first in the queue in the morning.

The Witness reported yesterday that the Election Monitoring Network (EMN), a network of independent civil society organisations, has identified the use of food parcels as an election tool that threatens the election process. The warning comes against the backdrop of allegations from KZN midlands towns that food parcels are being distributed to garner votes.

Police had to be called in to monitor the situation in Pietermaritzburg. They had their hands full trying to disperse those who were not awaiting grants, but no incidents were reported.

There is still confusion as to how word about the vouchers is being spread to communities.

The Witness has learnt that an announcement was made on Thursday last week by staff at the Social Development offices, inviting residents to collect vouchers on Friday. Social Development Department spokesman Mandla Ngema denied that vouchers are given to people that receive grants. He said they are given to the destitute and people should wait in their homes to be assessed.

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