Poor are losing out while ANC fights

Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane has hit out at the political infighting in the African National Congress, saying it does nothing to improve the lives of the poor.

"Enough is enough. Words won't feed the hungry," Ndungane said at the release of a preliminary report on the 10th anniversary of the national poverty hearings.

Ndungane warned: "The deadly cocktail of poverty is causing a state of emergency. This is no time for semantics or who is right and who is wrong."

He also attacked the government's economic policies.

"What kind of economy is able to produce wealth for the rich, but no employment for the young people who are the future?"

Ndungane said a "lack of food is the key problem" in South Africa.

"The lack of food has caused the loss of human dignity and the erosion of family and societal values," he said.

"Ordinary citizens are resorting to desperate measures in order to feed themselves and their children, such as eating from dustbins and begging on the streets."

Ndungane said he feared for another "eruption" of xenophobic attacks.

"The anger, frustration and feeling of hopelessness, especially among young people, is a recipe for possible disaster.

"The stage has been set for another eruption of anger and violence through xenophobic attacks similar to the ones we experienced recently," he said.

Ndungane also hit out at the government rule that disability grants for HIV-positive people are cut off once their CD4 counts rise above 200.

"A number of [people] have confessed that they would rather not take medication so that they can continue to receive the government grant."