By Sandiso Phaliso
Buffalo City Metro has committed R30m to assist destitute families in its 50 wards during the lockdown period.
The relief fund will see 40,000 households benefiting, with 800 people in each ward set to receive food vouchers valued at R750 to help them through the Covid-19 lockdown.
BCM took to its social media platforms over the weekend to announce the food vouchers initiative.
Residents are required to contact their ward councillors or their ward committee regarding allocations.
“We have reprioritised some of our budgets in line with the Cogta regulations in order to get these funds,” BCM mayor Xola Pakati told DispatchLIVE on Sunday.
Metro spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya on Sunday said people to benefit from this initiative include the unemployed, hawkers, sick people and child-headed households.
He said the food parcel distributing programme was supplementary to the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) food relief programme and was a “contribution of the city in the fight against Covid-19”.
“Various measures have been put in place to ensure that we reach homes that are in need of this kind of an intervention,” Ngwenya said.
“The criteria include the voucher being given to households rather than individuals.
“The identification of beneficiaries who reside in that ward will be done using their ID numbers and having a database with their names and contact details.”
* Mnquma municipality said on Sunday it had received with “great alarm and shock” a video clip apparently exposing bags of mealie meal infested with maggots.
Reports suggest this bag may have been part of food parcels distributed to communities as part of the government food security programme amid the national lockdown.
Mnquma spokesperson Loyiso Mpalantshane said on Sunday his mayor, Sithembiso Ncetezo, has since extended his apology to all the affected communities.
Mpalantshane said Ncetezo assured the people of Mnquma that the municipality had alerted Sassa and the department of social development, who in turn have committed to ensuring the situation will be resolved.
“The municipality was not involved in the procurement of these products, but was merely co-ordinating the food distribution process to ensure fair and just allocation to deserving families.
“We call on all affected communities to immediately stop consumption or use of the spoiled products and report similar incidences to the municipality or their nearest Sassa or social development offices,” Mpalantshane said.