City of Johannesburg to manage food parcels electronically and limit distribution

Dozens of food parcels distributed in Pretoria in April 2020 for relief during the coronavirus lockdown. (Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images via Getty Images)
Dozens of food parcels distributed in Pretoria in April 2020 for relief during the coronavirus lockdown. (Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

The City of Johannesburg says it will electronically manage and limit food parcels to R350 per household.

The City added the food parcels would be managed via an e-voucher system.

In a statement released on Thursday, the municipality claimed it had distributed more than 45 000 food parcels since the commencement of the lockdown.

READ | 1 in 5 residents in informal settlements have no water, study finds

Mayor Geoff Makhubo said the City intended on engaging with the Consumer Goods Council to negotiate prices and security of supply.

He had earlier briefed the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on the City's response to coronavirus.

Makhubo said he was concerned about the rising levels of poverty in the city which had resulted in an increasing number of people and households in need of food and essential supplies.

READ | Lockdown: Pressing need for food parcels in Durban amid Covid-19 outbreak

"A significant number of residents are in urgent need of assistance to manage and mitigate against hunger. We have taken a decision to source food parcels for one million households as a means to provide social relief to poor households and communities over the next three months.

Hardship

"This intervention is critical given the increase in the number of households who, as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown, have suffered a loss of income and subsequently encountered economic hardship."

Makhubo hoped to activate the local economy through empowering local shops in communities to package and redeem vouchers as a stimulation for township economies.

READ | Ramaphosa hits back at critics: 'We are not stuck on Level 4'

"Working with the South African Social Security Agency [Sassa], the City aims to build a consolidated indigent register to help identify those households that will be qualifying for food relief to ensure that those who benefit are identified and verified through a systematic process.

"Donations from various NGOs, private businesses and persons have been received and are most appreciated.  

"However, we encourage all donors to work with the government in the distribution of food so as to ensure there is an equitable distribution of food to communities in need and to avoid unnecessary social unrest that we have witnessed in some instances where donors have donated food without co-ordinated identification of beneficiaries and distribution plans," said Makhubo.

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