Political games with food parcels must end, says DA – The Citizen

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape has called for an end to “political games” played “with food parcels”.

The DA’s MPL Fawzia Rhoda said the party in the province has reported ongoing abuse in the rollout 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 the distribution of lifesaving social relief.

“Photographs sent to DA councillor Johan Mattee show 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 benefitted while their immediate neighbours, 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,” said the DA MPL.

Rhoda said following extensive discussions with community members, Mattee sent an advisory list of more than 350 people living in dire poverty in the Umsobomvu Local Municipality, which has not been responded to either by the provincial nor the national government.

“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 ever 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.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu said on Monday councillors should not distribute food parcels but assist non-profit and non-government organisations as well as the government in identifying community members in need in their respective wards.

READ MORE: No councillor should be found distributing food parcels, says Lindiwe Zulu

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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