Political games with food parcels must end
11 May 2020
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape has reported ongoing abuse in the roll-out of social welfare programmes in the Umsobomvu Local Municipality to the provincial department of Social Development.
Despite being reprimanded previously for personal and political abuse of the food parcel programmes, the ANC in the region has continued to turn this crucial social welfare campaign into nothing more than a cheap political stunt. When the ANC councillor for Ward 4 was brought to heel in April 2020 after distributing government’s food parcels in party regalia, the decision was taken to use branch or ward structures in distribution of live-saving social relief.
Photographs sent to DA councillor Johan Mattee shows that, early in May 2020, the ANC’s branch chairperson in Ward 4 began to accompany distribution teams from SASSA and Social Development. Some households benefited while their immediate neighbors, living in equal poverty, were ignored.
It is clear that the ANC now uses branch structures to draw a veil over the political abuse of food parcels. A political agenda is still being driven through the roll-out of social welfare and the ANC has given themselves the godlike power to decide who will have food on the table or who will go to bed hungry.
We do not buy the flimsy excuse that he accompanied distribution teams to give them directions. After all, nobody else in the municipality or the ward were contacted by any of the officials.
After extensive discussions with community members, DA councillor Johan Mattee sent an advisory list of more than 350 people living in dire poverty in the Umsobomvu Local Municipality. Neither the provincial nor the national government ever responded.
Pretty promises from the social sector that food parcels will be distributed equally among those in need therefore remains nothing but hollow echoes from those focused more on narrow political gain than on the greater good. At a time in our young democracy when it is more important than even before for us to work together to salvage our communities, the ANC still continues to play political games with the lives and livelihoods of our people.
It cannot be that those who are in need of social relief have their human dignity stripped from them to further a political agenda.
Issued by Fawzia Rhoda, DA Constituency Head of Bo-Karoo, 11 May 2020