Image via: Twitter
Image via: Twitter
President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that the alleged corruption going on within feeding schemes and the delivery of food parcels is “unacceptable”.
Since the initiatives to feed the hungry during this financial crisis began over a week ago, complaints of opportunist councillors diverting the supply of food to their own supporters have been rife. The allegations have been made in eight of the country’s nine provinces.
“If there is found to be substance to these allegations we will deal with the individuals concerned harshly,” said Ramaphosa in his weekly newsletter.
Ramaphosa said that the allegations – of which many pertain directly to African National Congress (ANC) councillors – are “disturbing”.
“We have also had to contend with allegations both disturbing and disgusting. A number of provinces have received reports that callous individuals, some of them allegedly government officials, are hoarding or selling food parcels earmarked for the needy and destitute, or diverting them to their friends and families.”
He said that the current plight of millions of South Africans who are unable to feed their children due to a lack of work over the last unprecedented month of lockdown is a challenge the country needs to solve, and corruption has no place in ensuring a successful endeavour.
“There can be no greater injustice than a society where some live in comfort and plenty, while others struggle at the margins to survive with little or nothing at all.”
“Yes, these are the residual effects of a fractured and unequal past. But they are also a symptom of a fundamental failing in our post-apartheid society. The nationwide lockdown in response to the coronavirus has gravely exacerbated a long-standing problem.”
Two ANC councillors in the North-West Province saw their ANC membership suspended after allegations surfaced that they had approached businesses asking for donations towards feeding schemes, with the food ultimately not reaching the starving people of the province.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) have taken issue with the allegations, saying that permits are being illegally tendered to non-essential workers too.
“Some people are seeing an opportunity in this crisis, whereby they use food parcels and other things to campaign so that they can be re-elected in the coming local government elections,” said Joe Mcgluwa, the DA’s provincial spokesperson for the North-West.
“If it is not the food parcels that are not reaching the most deserving, it is the permit that allows people to move around and help with the pandemic. This permit is being irregularly issued to people who do not really need them and for personal use.”