On the 12th of May 2020, at Imbali Unit 14 in Pietermaritzburg, boxes of food parcels were delivered to the community members who applied. The distributors were moving around door to door assessing if the household qualifies to get the food parcel. The parcel was comprised of 5kg meal mealie, 2×2kg rice,4 butternuts, 4 onions, 2×500ml bottles of cooking oil, 1kg brown sugar, 5 cans of baked beans and 3 cans of pilchards. Now my worry is how many people can be sustained by this parcel and for how long will it last because one thing for sure is that there are families who solely depend on such parcels as such families do not have any sources of income.
by Rapule Moiloa in Soweto
Lock down did not happen because it was supposed to but it was due to an unforeseen virus that left many people jobless, with out food and caused people’s lives to be on standstill. People who thought of the poor not just about themselves organised food parcels for the poor, the vulnerable and the needy so that they can eat together with their families. However I am disturbed by those who receive these food parcels that instead of taking these food parcels to the relevant people, they help themselves with the same food. These are selfish people who can afford to buy food themselves but they deprive the poor. What should be done when those who are supposed to distribute don’t do the distribution, what should be done when food parcels are found in the back of the car, what can be done when food parcels are distributed at night in the dark for the few or even sold, what should be done when the same food parcels distributed according to structures of the political party and what should be done when the problem is not yet contained?
By Concerned Resident
I have been talking to people i know in Diepkloof And Reverlea with regards to the current situation since lock down. Many confessed that hunger is the major problem since many people last worked before the lock down was announced. There were however challenges associated with food parcels that were supposed to be distributed to people who are in need and Sophie not her real name alluded that one needed to register first for him or her to be able to get the food parcels but to date people who have registered to be helped with food parcels have not received instead few people recieved and these are card carrying members of a certain political party.
In Reverlea, people have been waiting long for the food parcels I’m advised by Suzan not her real name that food parcel donations were brought in Reverlea but the problem is the few parcels that were brought only benefitted a few and when Suzan send a text message to the person in charge of the distribution in their ward asking about the few food parcels that were intended for the community of Reverlea, instead of the person in charge to explain why only few food parcels were brought, the person took Suzan off the list and said the minute her text message was recieved her name was deleted immediately.
by Tshepo Mmusi…Lock down in Klerksdorp areas is taken seriously as we see the streets of the township not flooded by people doing rounds. The streets are clear of people and one can only notice police vehicles monitoring the situation but at certain times children gather in small numbers to play in street corners and as police and military vehicles approache they rush to their homes. Churches were closed during the Easter weekend and usual festivities were not conducted as everyone is indoors.
The lock down has its negative impacts though, because many people’s livelihoods have been interrupted. Workers in the Klerksdorp industrial site have not been working since the commissioning of the lock down and it’s extension has made their situation even worse as many fear that they will not receive their wages. I spoke to one of the factory workers by the name of Matlhomola Manoto who indicated that at their company a “No work no pay” principle will apply if they are not working as their company depends on production. As it is, he has not received any payment since the commencement of the lock down. Street vendors, people depending on recycling materials are not spurred either because they are not allowed to sell their products as recycling companies are closed so there is no market for them.
In the ward where I live, Ward 11, there is a list that has been developed identifying people or households which should benefit from the food parcels, now it is said that it has a bias towards unemployed people and impoverished households. The question is what about the people who are like Matlhomola Manoto, who are employed and not getting paid due to lockdown? The Minister of Employment and Labour advised companies to apply for UIF funds on behalf of their employees so that they can benefit during this period, the question again is where is this holding up? People’s lives are at stake, they are not allowed to go out and fend for themselves as they are used to and government interventions are moving at a snail pace.
On the 3rd day of the South African lockdown, some people went to Jane Furse plaza, Sekhukhune South Africa and other nearby centres to collect their Sassa money. Jane Furse plaza was overcrowded as people couldn’t wait to collect their grants until the end of the lockdown. The nearby garage was also fully packed. The nature of the queues defeated the whole purpose of social distancing and people had no masks and some knew nothing about sanitizers. The situation was worsened by lack of immediate facility for people to wash their hands. Poverty drove a lot of people to collect their grants even during the time they are advised to exercise self-isolation and this poses a risk of an increase in the spread of the virus.
Anonymous…On the 8th of April one guy was beaten so badly by police here near my flat in Durban, Russell Street. We are really suffering because this has been happening since the lockdown started, sometimes they don’t even ask where you are going they just start beating you. Some of our papers have expired we can’t go for renewal because we even scared to go to home Affairs. We have a fear that we will be arrested after lockdown because we are now illegal citizens because we have no papers.
by Michael…It’s day 12 of the lock down as I am getting ready to go out, buy grocery for PACSA garden assistant. My what’s app is full of messages, other forwarded from PACSA Process Facilitators. As per government directive, for me to leave my house I need permit, classifying my work as essential service! I wonder if fighting for social justice is classified as one, human rights watch is one them, buying groceries for the garden assistant is one of those. First two kilometers from my house road block. Here is my conversation with the police officers;
Police: Where are you going,
Me: Going to buy grocery
Police: Didn’t you buy before the lock down.
Me : I did, but this time is not mine, its for a colleague who is being paid on a daily basis depending on the work he does and as we are in a lockdown he is in a danger of hunger and starvation.
by Thamie Mokoena…For the community of Bramfisher in Soweto it is business as usual as people move around as if life is normal and as if the country is not on lock down due to the virus. Yesterday some one was using a whistle to call people out side to the streets because a whistle is used for many things in the townships be it to alert the community for meetings if someone is in danger. In this case the person whistled calling other community members to the street corner for the meeting regarding food parcels as food insecurity is becoming a problem since many people have not been going to work to afford food.
by Nompilo…The conditions of conducting burial processes during lockdown are very frustrating and hard more especially in rural areas where the people strongly believe in their cultural practices and beliefs and where information about coronavirus has not been sufficiently spread. We had a very bad experience with my family at Maphumulo in Mambedwini, KZN having to bury our father under such restrictive circumstances. Having to adhere with the rules of lockdown robbed us opportunity and opportunity to mourn and bury our father in honour according to the dictates of our culture.
by Njabulo Togane, PACSA, Pietermaritzburg, KZN…My name is Njabulo Togane and I reside in Cinderella Park which is a diverse community in terms of race. The community has different setups such as informal settlement, RDP houses and self-built houses. As we mark day 13 of the South Africa lockdown as a person who works with the marginalized constituencies who don’t have any means of communication but only meeting at PACSA office has been very much difficult to engage and communicate with them and I feel helpless because the regulations that were enforced upon us as the public of South Africa limited my movements.
by Rapule…Lucky not his real name is my friend from Soweto and he is one of the people who has a small business next to Bara Hospital. He sells sweets, snacks, cold drinks and he said to me last night that he is worried about paying his son’s fees, pay rent as he is renting for now the rent is 1000 rands because his business has been affected. He is contemplating to look for work after the lockdown.
Anonymous…In my community(Eshowe) the problem now is alcohol it’s really scary the way people are in need of alcohol than to protect themselves from corona ,they are people who are selling it even police know them but they are keeping quiet about it, people are wasting money on alcohol than food, it’s really confusing what people are doing.
For smaller business owners who are not operating online, times like these might be a setback for their businesses. Maybe people should be sponsored with data to run their businesses online or given a better option to do business. Yes, government is assisting but more needs to be done for the sake of the country’s economy and improving lives. People who were doing door to door business are suffering. What should be done to help them? Will they be able to make enough money to take care of their families? Will government be able to offer enough food parcels to make sure they do not go to bed on empty stomachs?
By Amo Tshabalala
COVID 19 has affected us negatively and I personally feel and think that everything has happened so fast that most of the people didn’t get a chance to understand what this is all about. By the time they try to figure out, a lockdown has already been institutedLocal shops are open but we can’t find everything that we want because the shops are too small to cater for a big village like ours, Sefikile Village under Moses Kotane Local Municipality in North West Province. Despite us failing to get most of the stuff that we want from the shops, we don’t have many problems, we have access to water and we are following updates from TV and radio on the status quo of the crisis.
Some of the people were beaten for not cooperating but that didn’t happen because of lack of knowledge it was because of them being rude and not following the instructions. The police found them in the street boozing and the police tried to talk to them nicely but they refused to disperse. Everyone in the village is now abiding by the instructions on the lockdown. However, the rising cases of the virus in North West Province is worrying us. I would like to urge everyone to abide by what the authorities say to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Let’s stay home and be free from COVID-19. #stayhomeandfightcovid19togetherasone.