The government is starving thousands of South Africans

Issued by James Lorimer MP – Member of the DA Shadow Cabinet
15 May 2020 in News

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The chaotic situation resulting from instructions from the Department of Social Development has led to the closure of food relief operations and thousands of people who were being fed are now without food.

A document on food parcel distribution which is labelled a “draft” document, instructs that all private charities close soup kitchens and restrict food parcel deliveries. Even worse, the document declares that a new license must be obtained from the department for every single day that any charity wants to distribute food.

Despite the uncertain status of this document, offices of the department are everywhere instructing charities to close their doors, or to deliver all their resources to the department’s offices.

Food distribution charities everywhere are telling harrowing tales of people begging for food after they’ve been told that scheduled handouts have been stopped. Charities that target poor people, the elderly, vulnerable people, and children are all affected.

The DA calls on Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu to:

  • Immediately confirm or deny the status of the “Draft Directions on the Status of Food Parcels in South Africa during Covid-19 and beyond”;
  • If she denies that the draft has been implemented; to explain why her department’s offices countrywide are enforcing them; and
  • If she agrees that the instruction is valid, explain why it has not been issued properly, and why it should be permissible to threaten South Africans with arrest for feeding the hungry.

These instructions have been issued to organisations across the board, including some that have been working for years and which were carrying out credible social distancing methods even before the lockdown happened.

The instructions have been defended as ensuring that social distancing is maintained and that there be equitable distribution of food aid. This is clearly nonsense, as the regulations have been applied irrespective of the conduct of relief organisations.

Worse than nonsensical, is that the department cannot or will not feed everybody in need. So people are starving because although the food is available, organisations may not give it out.

We believe the ANC government is doing this deliberately to ensure only those people who are in good standing with the ANC will get food. It is nothing short of a vote-buying exercise.

As such, it is a disgrace, and puts the ANC government in the same class as the Mugabe and Apartheid regimes. South Africans should ask the question: Does a government prepared to starve its own people have a moral right to govern?