DSD continues feeding approximately 100 000 daily amidst Corona virus pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing 21-day lockdown has brought about concerns about how the most vulnerable in society will be cared for.
As part of its basket of services, the Western Cape Department of Social Development has several programmes that provide food to approximately 100 000 people who are food insecure.
It is anticipated that this need will grow as a result of the lockdown, with many people not being able to work and earn an income in both urban and rural areas.
The Department is in talks with the regional and national SASSA officials, whose offices are currently closed, to request them to avail their budget allocation for feeding and to provide the extra food parcels that are needed as a result of the expected increase in need.
We are also in talks with other departments, NGOs, and civil organisations to assist in expanding the safety net for the vulnerable.
There are currently 72 sites with 6 700 beneficiaries, where targeted feeding takes place five days a week which falls outside of the Department of Health’s Nutritional Theraputic Programme. The Province has also taken responsibility for the funding of food support to a further 5000 beneficiaries through community nutrition development and support centres, which are due to shift to providing food parcels for families in need, and a number of ECD kitchens are being funded to help provide food to 50 000 children across the province, while DSD funded residential facilities, along with drop-in-centres and other programmes, are providing daily nutrition to nearly 40 000 beneficiaries.
What support is there for homeless people?
A guideline has been developed for how to increase safety among the homeless during this period, in line with the State of Disaster regulations and has been shared with all related departments and municipalities. It was agreed that municipalities would provide alternative accommodation for homeless people not in shelters. This is the standard procedure during large scale disasters (flooding, fires, xenophobic violence, etc.)
Most support for the homeless is coordinated by our municipalities. However, the provincial Department of Social Development remains committed to providing assistance where municipalities request it. A total of 20 temporary sites have been established across the province (3 in the Metro). A total of 1104 persons are being currently being accommodated in non-Metro sites, and 2700 persons in Metro sites. The National Department of Social Development is providing food in the non-metro sites, and the City is providing food in the sites it has established.
As the provincial DSD, we continue to provide support to our funded partners that render key services to homeless citizens.
All 26 Department-funded shelters, with a total of 1 499 bed spaces, are still operational.
The Department has communicated with the various facilities around proper hygiene, physical distancing and infectious disease protocols. Homeless people will be referred to healthcare facilities if needed. The Department is also working with NGO’s, to provide extra mattresses, food, and care packs to the poor.
Are shelter services for victims of abuse operational?
The Department, NGOs, and civil society organisations will continue to provide victim empowerment services through the provision of shelter and psychosocial support. This can be accessed by calling the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre on 0800 428 428. The call centre is operational 24/7.
Alternatively, services can be accessed by calling local offices, or by reports to the SAPS.
The Department’s local offices remain open, and social workers are available to assist with emergency statutory services which includes victim empowerment, children at high risk, child justice and probation services, services to persons with disabilities, as well as older persons at high risk.
How can organisations or individuals channel their offers of donations?
The Department has been tasked to coordinate donations. Organisations or individuals can make use of the call centre on the details provided below or email email@example.com. These requests will then be captured and channeled to the relevant officials for processing.
How can individuals or organisations make contact with the Department?
Members of the public can phone 0800 220 250 for DSD general queries, and 0860 142 142 for donation requests and offers between 7am and 4pm, send a Please Call Me to 079 769 1207, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
These queries will then be routed to the relevant programme officers within the Department.
We further wish to alert the public that we have been receiving very high call volumes, and appeal to individuals not use these channels to report law enforcement issues, as these calls could put individuals who need assistance by the Department at further risk by increasing their waiting time.
The Social Development Department (DSD) is fully aware of its critical role. However, we need the support of SASSA to assist us in contributing towards empowering our residents across the province, particularly among our most vulnerable.
We urge all citizens to obey the rules and regulations of the lockdown, to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 in our communities.
For more information, please refer to the Western Cape Department’s Website below: