On 21 April 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a social and economic relief plan, which included additional relief for social distress through various mechanisms.
The Western Cape Department of Social Development has not yet been briefed by the National Government about the details of this plan, and no additional budget has been provided to the Western Cape Department of Social Development from National Government for the distribution of the food parcels referenced by the President.
Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez said: “There are many people in the Western Cape contacting Provincial Department about this particular initiative announced by the President. We encourage the National Department to clarify the process that will be followed as soon as possible.”
It is understood that this component of the social relief plan will be implemented by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) on behalf of the National Department of Social Development.
In terms of the Social Assistance Act, SASSA is the lead agency mandated to provide social support to the poor, including the provision of food parcels and vouchers.
SASSA, reports directly to the National Government, and not to our Provincial Department.
Minister Fernandez added: “Since the start of the lockdown, all SASSA local offices have been closed in terms of a direction by Minister Lindiwe Zulu. We reiterate our call to the national Minister to issue directions to reopen these offices, as they are now needed more than ever to execute the relief measures announced by the President.”
The Western Cape Government will continue with our efforts to deliver the limited, once-off food parcels (a total of 50 000) to those who meet the criteria. This is to ensure that the most vulnerable are reached first.
The criteria are:
- Households affected by COVID-19 infections in the following instances:
- A member/s of the family who tested positive for the virus and are in isolation in their homes.
- A household where a member of the family who tested positive for the virus and who have insufficient means to sustain themselves during the lockdown period.
- A person who is on medication or who suffers from a chronic illness and have insufficient means to sustain themselves and was assessed and referred by a local clinic or registered health practitioner.
- A person and their household who have insufficient means to sustain themselves during the lockdown period who was referred by a registered humanitarian relief agency, registered NPO or a municipal manager, and assessed by DSD. In this instance, persons not yet in receipt of SASSA grants, including the elderly, child headed houses, grant awaiting beneficiaries will be prioritized.
“There are number of NGOs, private sector donors, religious organisations and community based organisations which have come forward to assist communities independently of government. We wish to thank all of those organisations, donors and volunteers for their compassion and kindness during this challenging time for our province and country. We honour you and your efforts”.
For credible information, follow the Western Cape Government on social media, or visit westerncape.gov.za