3,1million gohungry in KzN

KwaZulu-Natal, a province with nearly 10million people, is being ravaged by poverty and hunger with more than a quarter of its population going to bed on empty stomachs.

This emerged on Saturday at Nkandla when safety MEC Bheki Cele, speaking on behalf of provincial Premier Zweli Mkhize, revealed that according to the latest statistics, 3,1million people in the province went to bed hungry.

Cele said this was one of the challenges being faced by President Jacob Zuma, who was present.

"As the provincial cabinet we had our lekgotla on June 4 and 5 and Mkhize released shocking statistics that at least 3,1million people in the province go to bed hungry," Cele said.

He said Zuma was facing the challenge of dealing with and helping these poor people.

"These are not just statistics, but people who are counting on you not to let them down. They expect a better future," Cele said.

Though he did not answer Cele directly, Zuma promised that he would accelerate rural development and ensure that rural people feel the difference.

"I regard myself as your representative and will never forget you," he said.

Most of the poorest of the poor are found on the outskirts of rural areas such as Zululand, where there are people who share their water with livestock.

Last month this newspaper carried a heart-breaking story about a 17-year-old boy from Nsukazi, Ceza, who had go to school on an empty stomach if his unemployed aunt had no food.

Many people were so touched that they offered help, but it was just a drop in the ocean because it is not a unique case in the province.