'Arrest them' - Duarte on claims ANC members looting food parcels meant for poor

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A general view of people queuing for food parcels at a local school.
A general view of people queuing for food parcels at a local school.
Sharon Seretlo, Gallo Images

The ANC has called for the arrest of people keeping food parcels from the poor, including its own members.

The organisation's deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, told News24 on Monday that two party members had been suspended for contravening lockdown regulations while wearing ANC regalia. One had already been arrested, while the other is facing a similar fate.

The two will also be hauled before the party's disciplinary processes.

Duarte also called on communities to report its councillors, if they are found in the wrong, especially after growing reports of councillors looting food parcels meant for the most vulnerable.

"We believe that it is completely unconscionable for anyone to use food parcels right now for political patronage," said Duarte.

She made the comments in between a series of the ANC's usual Monday meetings, only this time via virtual platforms.

READ MORE | Councillors accused of looting food parcels meant for the poor

More than two million people worldwide have been infected with the pandemic known as Covid-19, while 54 South Africans have died and 3 158 others tested positive.  

Duarte emphasised that the food parcels were not a "want" but a critical supply of food for vulnerable people, and she questioned how people sought to deprive the needy of such vital assistance.

Last week, News24 reported that the South African Social Services Agency was investigating one of its directors in Mpumalanga after she was accused of authorising food parcels to be delivered to an ANC member of the provincial legislature.

ALSO READ | ANC legislature committee accused of using food parcels for personal gain

Ramaphosa, in his weekly newsletter, also raised concern over the trend, describing the hoarding and selling of food parcels as "disgusting".

"Arrest them. I don't care who it is, it's wrong," said Duarte.

Duarte encouraged members of society to alert the police whenever they see people attempting to block food packages from reaching those who need it most, and to inform the party if those involved belong to the ANC.

"We are not going to accept this; what we need to do right now is to be there for the poor, not to take advantage of them," she said.

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