Gauteng identifies five groups for food assistance, with homeless the 'first priority'

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(iStock)
(iStock)

The Gauteng Department of Social Development has identified five targeted groups of beneficiaries, who are supposed to benefit from the food parcel distribution as part of the Covid-19 relief interventions. 

According to the acting MEC for the department, Panyaza Lesufi, the five groups are: the homeless, victims of gender-based violence housed in shelters, child-headed homes, the unemployed, and persons with health issues receiving chronic medication but with no means to get food for themselves. 

Lesufi said the homeless, however, are the first priority because they have no one cooking and taking care of them, which is why they have been taken to shelters during this time, the MEC said on Thursday.

He said the food being distributed needed to be audited and the recipients required documentation. 

Several reports also suggested that foreign nationals were being excluded from food relief interventions. 

On Tuesday, News24 visited Zamimpilo, where the Muslim Association of SA donated food buckets to residents. Foreign nationals were asked to queue separately to receive parcels. 

READ: 'There is a growing demand for food' - Muslim Association after handing out parcels in Joburg

Although the intervention in Zamimpilo did not involve the department, Lesufi said the approach used by his department required people to be appropriately documented.

Not discriminating

"If people are not documented to be in the country, it is unfortunate. We will request them to deal with that aspect, so they can be in the queue. We are not discriminating on the basis that you are a South African or not.

"Our approach is that, if you are inside South Africa, appropriately documented and in need of assistance, we will be open-minded to provide that kind of assistance. "

The department was working with institutions, like the SA Human Rights Commission and Home Affairs, to ensure that people in need of support were not excluded.

The MEC has urged non-profit organisations to work with the department of social development to coordinate food distribution, so as to avoid confusion and duplicating delivery to the same beneficiaries. 

"We don't want to remove [organisations] from distributing and we are saying, let's do it together and it will assist us," Lesufi said.  

NOW SEE | This community needs basic stuff. Not luxuries, says Good Samaritan

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