Fri, Jan 21, 2022

Diversion of food parcels meant for the poor, a cause for concern


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?

Congestion during SASSA payouts compromised lockdown regulations


The 6th of May was the last day of the SASSA pay outs.The roads were so packed and there was too much chaos due to people and traffic congestion. The scary part about this was that nobody seemed to be caring about the spread of COVID-19 as some of the people were not putting on masks and not following the 2 meter distancing. I am one of the concerned people about the Coronavirus lockdown going back to stage 5 as there are some people who thinks this pandemic we are faced with is a joke yet everyday we are updated about new cases and deaths caused by this virus.

Meanwhile, at Imbali Crossing there was a road block where all travelers were stopped and asked where they were going,what are they going to do there and were expected to produce permits. Most of the people were asked to go back because they didn’t have permits yet others did have permits and were told either that it’s not the ones they want or they are not specific enough and people who were going to collect Sassa pay outs had to issue their IDs and SASSA cards as proof. People who were going to purchase groceries and buy essentials were also told to go and get permits for that. My worry is where are we going to get permits to buy groceries?

Politicisation of COVID-19 food relief


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.

Business as usual in Bramfisher


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.

African Diaspora Forum rescues communities during lockdown


By Dorothy Mabelebele

Due to COVID-19, South Africans are urged to stay at home during the lockdown. On the 9th of April 2020 South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the extension of lockdown to end of April. President Ramaphosa pleaded with South Africans to make even greater sacrifices so that our country may survive this crisis and so that tens of thousands of lives may be saved, “We will use the coming days to evaluate how we will embark on risk-adjusted measures that can enable a phased recovery of the economy, allowing the return to operation of certain sectors under strictly controlled conditions”, said President Ramaphosa.

African Diaspora Forum (ADF) has met with different communities to help vulnerable with food parcels. On April 20 April, ADF leadership was at Dobsonville Soweto to handover food parcels. ADF Spokesperson Amir Sheikh Hussein said that “When the lockdown was announced by President we decided to assist the local communities and we are very happy that Sowetan migrants business owners together with ward 47 & 48 councillors will hand over the food parcels to them”. Sheik Hussein added that 300 households received food parcels each worth R500 in Meadowlands and surrounding areas further more we have to distribute 1000 food parcels to migrants that reside in Mayfair and Inner City of Johannesburg. Ward 48 councillor Tshepo Nawane concluded by saying that this is what being an African is about, living together and assisting each other, someone who didn’t have food at all today will have something to eat today.

African Diaspora Forum is a non profit organisation open to all willing individuals and organisations sharing the objectives of the forum. It is originally comprised of a number of organisations representing African migrant communities living in South Africa. It facilitate and develop relationships, exchanges and mutual understanding between South Africans and none South African residents in South Africa (in particular, but not exclusively, through the organisation of pan African cultural events; through the participation in civil society organisations at the local level – such as community policing forums, civics, street committees).

Social Justice Organisation join hands to help the needy in PMB


by Michael…PMB Covid 19 Concerned Collective is an alliance of social justice organizations that have joined forces to help and support the poor and vulnerable communities in fight against corona virus during the nationwide lockdown which was announced by the President of the Republic of South Africa. The organizations such as PACSA, CREATE, Midlands Community Initiative (MCI) and Arise & Shine Community Organization. The PMB Covid 19, using the principles of SEE,JUDGE & ACT took a collective decision based on the needs of the communities with uMgungundlovu District to mobilize support from family members, colleagues from each respective organizations, the business community and community members to support the food parcels drive initiative with an aim to provide food for the needy families. The food parcels under the #sharewithothers was popularised through social media (Whatsapp & Facebook) and has since distributed 50 food parcels to families in need during this lockdown in areas such as Trustfeed, Swaymani, Thembalihle , Azalea ,Edendela ,Cinderella Park and Sobantu. This initiative gave us an opportunity to interact with the community members and to observe the behaviour of people during this lockdown in trying to curb the spread of the corona virus. Most of the precautions that are meant to be followed such as social distancing and washing of hands are seem not to be followed in most of the above mentioned communities that we visited. We are also planning to raise awareness among these communities on the measures they need to take.

Partisan food distribution worry Phokeng residents


by Tumi Mokgatle, in Phokeng, Rustenburg local municipality

Day 20 of the lockdown presented a new form of challenges for communities. In Phokeng Ward 4, 5 and 7 wards which are all wards of the ANC. The Councillors issued food parcels but most food parcels did not reach the most needy households.The method used is that community members who attend ward meetings are prioritized as well as those who hold ANC membership cards. The struggle is real as some depend on asking for food from their neighbors who would have benefited. On 15 April 2020, Ward 5 Councillor requested 10 family names as they indicated that they have 10 food parcels. No one knows how the food parcels are rolled out and the provincial authorities are silent. RBA has indicated that they will continue to cater for the families that they know are in needy.

Small business hard hit by lockdown


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?

Heartbreaking-Poor people bear the brunt of lockdown


by Tintswalo Mnisi, from eMalahleni Empumelelwe Mpumalanga… When I heard that our South African extended the lockdown by two weeks, I was so devastated and I wished I could sleep and never wake up again. The first thing that came to my mind was about my neighbor who is staying next to the dumping site and making a living by begging around Empumelelwe eMalahleni and he cannot afford to buy food during the lockdown. The issue that is so touching to me is the fact that he is old enough to get a grant but his not even getting it. I called one of my leaders asking about the food parcel but she just said I have to wait until next week, which means the old man has to wait for next week to get something to eat and to me it is heart breaking knowing exactly that I can’t even spend a day without eating. However, I still have hope that the situation is temporary and the situation will eventually improve. I will continue asking for help and feed him with the little that I get. It hurts me because we have people making offerings to pastors instead of feeding the poor and I still thank God for giving us a leader who is choosing people’s lives over people’s personal interests because the economy can recover but lost lives can never be replaced.

Land degradation worrying the Penhalonga community


Press release                                                                                     4 December 2018

Penhalonga community devastated by land degradation

Land degradation, food insecurity and water pollution in the Mutare river has led to loss of animal and human life in the gold mining village of Penhalonga in Manicaland, a province in eastern Zimbabwe.

Two people have died,as have a number of cattle, and the river has shifted its course more than 10 times in the past 5 years.

These social problems have led to the suspension of the mining company, DTZ-OZGEO (Pvt Ltd) in Penhalonga by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), an agency of the climate and environment ministry.

“In 2014, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development made a resolution to terminate the company’s mining licence. The mine left massive land degradation, and since that time there have been illegal gold mining activities happening there,” says community member Lloyd Sesemani

According to Sesemani, the community of Penhalonga has never benefited from DTZ-OZGEO mining activities. The community was not consulted before mining operations began in 2007,and since then there has been no meaningful contribution to services such as road maintenance, and the building of infrastructure like schools and bridges.

There are rumours that the government of Zimbabwe has engaged a mining company from Belarus to restart mining operations in Penhalonga. “We are not against any mining company operating in our community, but we are just against having history repeating itself. With DTZ-OZGEO several families lost farming land which was their only source of livelihood and most of them are now living in abject poverty,” says Sesemani

The community has met and outlined the issues to be addressed before mining activity can resume. These include meaningful consultation with all stakeholders around issues like development in the community, ensuring local procurement, and ensuring the employment of local people in the mines. The mine must have an environmental impact assessment certificate from the EMA. And there needs to be meaningful compensation paid to those who have been affected by operations

NOTE TO EDITORS: The Ubumbano Community Voice website and application is a platform for community activists in Southern Africa to share stories of their struggles for dignity and justice, and for journalists and others to get direct access to those stories. It is supported by the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of faith-based organisations.


Nhlanhla Kubeka

frayintermedia: Account manager

Tel: +27 11 888 0140

Cell: +27 79 847 897


Lloyd Sesemani

Community member

Tel: +263 71 416 3568


Ashely Green-Thompson

ACT Ubumbano: Change Manager

Cell: +27 83 442 4497