Gauteng has enough food for the needy- MEC Hlophe

The Gauteng Department of Social Development has come out to assure residents that there’s enough food for the needy in the province.

MEC Mbali Hlophe says this follows a statement by the DA earlier this month creating an impression that the department is failing to provide food Security to the destitute in the province.

She said that the Gauteng City Region Urban Poverty and Elimination Strategy remains the lodestar pillar in driving the provincial elevated priority of eliminating poverty and inequality for the poor and vulnerable citizens in the province.

“To this end, an array of food security programmes which are not only limited to food within our food bank are being implemented,” said the MEC.

She added that Non Profit Organisations (NPOs) are tasked with the care and aid of the elderly, HIV/Aids patients, the homeless and indigent through Community Nutrition and Development Centres (CNDCs) as well as Drop in Centres.

These NPOs, said Hlophe, provide daily nutritious warm meals and food parcels in line with approved dietary standards to these beneficiaries.

“Steadfast to its commitment to the vulnerable groups, the Department of Social Development and the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment embarked on a food expansion programme which saw the establishment of backyard gardens and the provision of food for the needy in December 2023,” explained the MEC.

She further said that on the food banks matter, it was indicated to the Portfolio Committee that following the recent Stats SA data which revealed growing poverty and unemployment levels in the province and country, the Department took a strategic decision to alter the specifications in the food parcel tender to include the supply of seeds for beneficiaries to be self-sustainable and upskilled.

“The alteration caused delays in the processing of the tender concerning food banks.

“This necessary change is premised on the fact that whilst the Department has been providing food parcels to residents for years, their socioeconomic status has not changed, evident in the StatsSA data.

“This is largely due to the fact that the Department can only provide each household food parcels for a period of three months and is compelled to move on to the next set of families due to the large demand.”

According to the MEC, the integration of seeds for planting will enable beneficiaries to have sustainable means to eradicate poverty.

“This strategy migrates our beneficiaries from the phenomenon of hand-outs to hand ups, thereby, restoring their dignity,” she said.

The Department said it remains committed to sustainable development and will ensure the revised tender process is concluded speedily in order to refill food banks.

In the meantime, she said, NPOs will continue to ensure that the vulnerable are taken care of.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

To Top
Subscribe for notification