acknowledged that the government’s Covid-19 interventions for the most vulnerable “has been slower than required, and that lapses have occurred”.
“Over the past three weeks, we have been confronted with distressing images of desperate people clamouring for food parcels at distribution centres and of community protests against food shortages,” Ramaphosa said.
He said government will “scale up welfare provision” during this period to help households living below the poverty line.
“The nationwide lockdown has put economic pressure on households and families across the country. With many not able to work and earn a salary right now, the need for humanitarian and food relief is urgent,” Winde said in a statement.
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“Over the weekend, I was part of the president’s coordinating council, where the need for food relief was discussed as a matter of deep concern.”
He said the Western Cape government is currently using available data to map where the greatest need exists, and to ensure that relief efforts from all spheres of government, and the non-governmental organisation and private sector, do not overlap.
“As part of these mapping efforts, we have determined that municipalities in the Western Cape have so far spent R7 million on feeding schemes and food parcels during the lockdown. Many municipalities are, however, unable to afford this in the long run. The Western Cape government is currently working on proposals in order to further support feeding schemes at a municipal level,” he said.
He added that the provincial government had started to distribute the 50 000 food parcels it had undertaken to provide.
“We continue to receive thousands of requests daily for food relief. We have doubled our call centre capacity in order to deal with the increased call volumes. However, we understand that there is still a backlog and we are working 24/7 to ensure we onboard additional trained call centre agents.”
He said their food relief parcels are intended for those most in need, are limited in number, and will only be dispensed once a social worker has approved the application.
The qualifying criteria for relief are:
- Households affected by Covid-19 infections if a family member is positive for the virus and in quarantine in their homes, where they have insufficient means to sustain themselves during the lockdown period.
- A person who is on medication or who suffers from a chronic illness and has insufficient means to sustain themselves, and was assessed and referred by a local clinic or registered health practitioner.
- A person and their household who have insufficient means to sustain themselves during the lockdown period who was referred by a registered humanitarian relief agency, registered NPO (non-profit organisation) or a municipal manager, and assessed by the social development department. In this instance, persons not yet in receipt of Sassa grants, including the elderly, child-headed houses, grant-awaiting beneficiaries will be prioritised.
Emergency feeding has continued at schools in the province.
“These meals have allowed us to meet some of the nutritional needs of thousands of our youngest citizens at a time when they are most in need of it,” Winde said.
As of 17:00 on 19 April, the Western Cape recorded 905 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection, of which the vast majority, 755, is in the Cape Town metropole.
According to the statement, there has been 215 recoveries and 17 deaths.
There are 673 active cases – patients who are currently infected.
There are 37 patients in hospital, of which 17 are in intensive care units.
Altogether 17 307 tests have been conducted in the province.
– Compiled by Jan Gerber