FOOD PARCELS 'ROTTINg AWAY'
While the poor are starving, tons of food parcels are gathering dust and going rotten in the South African Social Security Agency warehouse in Botlokwa, north of Polokwane.
According to Sassa officials there the parcels were brought to their offices in April but were never distributed.
Some of the roting food parcels were also being kept at the provincial department of health and social development's warehouse, they said.
The parcels were brought in as part of a poverty alleviation programme aimed at feeding needy families - people on the waiting list for social and dependency grants and for tuberculosis and HIV-Aids outpatients.
The parcels include items such as maize meal, sugar beans, canned fish, peanut butter, tea leaves, powdered milk and toiletries.
Fears are mounting that even if it were eventually distributed it would no longer be suitable for human consumption.
When asked why the food parcels had not been distributed, Sassa officials claimed that Matome Rapola, manager in the HIV directorate, had placed a "moratorium" on its distribution.
When Rapola was contacted he said he was unable to talk to Sowetan since he was "attending a meeting"at the time.
The decision has angered the community who view both the agency and the department as "useless and inconsiderate".
"It is disgusting and sad to see people starving while food is rotting in government institutions," community leader Lucky Ramakwela said.
Departmental spokesperson Selby Makgotho told Sowetan his department would be moving "swiftly" to distribute the food parcels.