South African food aid draws thousands for second time in two weeks

Spruit Community Support Forum hands out 10 000 bags of maize meal, vegetables, face masks, soap and sanitisers.
Image: Getty Images

Thousands of people struggling under South Africa’s tough lockdown waited in snaking queues for food aid for the second time in two weeks on Thursday, highlighting the human cost of the country’s coronavirus restrictions.

Footage by Reuters showed people standing in miles-long queues on a dirt track near the Mooiplaas and Spruit informal settlements on the outskirts of the capital Pretoria.

The Spruit Community Support Forum, a diverse group of religious, charity and community organisations, gave out around 10 000 bags of maize meal, vegetables, face masks, soap and sanitisers.

Charity workers asked people to keep a metre apart, separating men and women into different queues. In late April they distributed 8 000 food parcels in the same place.

Mating Molise, a 31-year-old mother of two, said times were hard. “Things are very tough, I can’t do anything because no one is working,” she said.

Many people from Mooiplaas and Spruit are from nearby southern African countries, meaning they don’t always qualify for government aid, non-governmental organisations say.

Edmore Mhlanga, a 34-year-old from Zimbabwe who worked for a construction company before the coronavirus struck, said: “Life is difficult here at the squatter camp, it’s hunger only.”

Africa’s most industrialised nation has recorded 12 739 cases of the coronavirus and 238 deaths, far fewer than many countries in badly affected continents like Europe, partly because of the tough restrictions in place.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday that the lockdown had prevented infections from rising uncontrollably and health facilities from being overwhelmed.

He acknowledged that the restrictions had brought great hardship and said his government would support those in need.

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Well the ANC is trying to “save” a few lives. Feeding programs are a brilliant idea.

Only problem is they don’t realize “seemingly” that it is impossible to reach everyone. Commonsense tells you that.

So how many people are they “not saving”? 1% of destitute that can normally scrape a living together? A simple calculation will show it can run into many, many thousands. Way more than anything the Kokorona is dishing out at present.

The government brings misery. The voluntarists bring food.

Pres. Ramaphosa’s first address was well received, as it was based on top scientific advice.

His top adviser, Prof Karrim, has said weeks ago the lockdown has already served it’s purpose.

His address on Wednesday was bland, with no rationale or scientific evidence. The economists are extremely worried about the economy and the resultant hardship.

These idiots making the absurd ruels should also be forced to gorego their outrageous salaries and perks while they enforce the lockdown. Then we will see how long they keep it going!!

End of comments.

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