Cape Town cautions Zulu on prohibiting cooked food donations

South African minister of social development, Lindiwe Zulu. File photo: ANA
South African minister of social development, Lindiwe Zulu. File photo: ANA

CAPE TOWN, May 13 (ANA) – The Cape Town council on Wednesday urged social development minister Lindiwe Zulu to reconsider plans to ban the distribution of cooked food donations to the needy during South Africa’s Covid-19 lockdown.

It emerged on Monday that Zulu’s department had drafted regulations which stipulate that “only food parcels are allowed – no cooked meals”, in terms of non-governmental organisations providing food relief.

In addition, the donors had to submit distribution plans to the police, and needed to go door-to-door to deliver the parcels.

The draft regulations also stipulate that the personal details of all those who received food parcels must be captured by donors doing the distributing and handed to the department of social development. 

Grant Twigg, the city’s mayoral committee member for urban development, said the draft regulations were unfair not only to those facing food shortages, but to organisations that had been helping them.

“The City of Cape Town strongly advises Minister Zulu to reject the draft directions, which will only accelerate malnutrition and food insecurity in local communities,” Twigg said.

Democratic Alliance MP Alexandra Abrahams said if implemented, the draft regulations “will see South Africans dying from starvation, not the coronavirus”.

She stressed it would mean that any organisation or individual must submit an application for a permit to the department of social development, at least 48 before they distributed any food.

“This implies that South African citizens are prohibited from making up food parcels from their own grocery trollies and cupboards to give to the hungry without approval from the department,” she said.

“It further implies that Aunty Mina, from Bishop Lavis, who runs a soup kitchen out of her own purse, will not be able to feed her neighbours a warm cooked meal as the evenings grow colder, without a permit from the department.”

Abrahams said the draft directions would not help the hungry in any way.

“Instead it will create more red tape and administration challenges while placing unnecessary tasks on already strained provincial departments.”

– African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Desiree Erasmus