DA councillor in spat with eThekwini over food parcels

2014-03-13 00:00

AN Umbilo councillor is embroiled in a bitter spat with the eThekwini Municipality and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) over food parcels.

DA councillor Nichole Graham said a poverty alleviation programme was organised in her ward without her knowledge.

Graham alleges that officials from Sassa had gone to her ward, invited residents to the office of the ANC’s PR councillor Judy Mulqueeny, and distributed food parcels without her being consulted as ward councillor.

“On Thursday, food parcels were dished out to residents at the office of the ANC PR councillor in my ward, and all this was done without consultation. This is blatant electioneering.

“People must be properly vetted before they become beneficiaries of food parcels,” said Graham yesterday.

Graham said it was wrong to have the distribution without her knowledge, and that she would arrange a meeting with Sassa to learn how this happened.

Mulqueeny said she could not comment on the matter, and added that the situation was “a little bit complicated” in the ward.

Sassa’s senior communications manager Vusi Hanaye said they used a venue in ward 33 as it was provided by the council.

“We had a function in Wentworth and due to the number of social distress relief packages we had, we were provided a central venue so that all those people who were screened could gain easy access to the venue.

“If the councillor has got people complaining, she should approach us with a list of the complainants; those people will be screened and help will be provided,” said Hanaye.

eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo could not be reached for comment.

Municipal spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng said when services are brought to the needy, the municipality does not discriminate on the basis of political affiliation.

“The venue was central to every beneficiary. Everyone was serviced on the day in question,” said Mofokeng.

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