Mpumalanga government on mission to feed poor during Covid-19 lockdown

As the country enters its fifth day under lockdown, the Mpumalanga department of social development is on a drive to feed poor families.

Head of the department Mxolisi Mahlalela told Sowetan they had about 2,750 people registered as beneficiaries of the relief programme they offer but said they were expecting the numbers to increase during the lockdown period.

"Remember, we have centers in all the province's three regions. We supply to about 2,750 people who are poor who go and collect food parcels from the centers but during this period of national lockdown people are going to need food because some have daily hustles which have stopped since the lockdown came into effect.

"So, we're anticipating to have the number of people going up very high and have added to the supply. We are targeting at least 80,000 households that are going to need food. Even if the number goes up we are ready," said Mahlalela.

He said the department has created a toll-free line where members of the public can call for help and those wanting to donate can also call.

"We have a database of all the people we supply and this time around they are not going to come to the centers but we will deliver to their houses. However, those new people who might need help during this period are also welcome to call our food distribution center and ask to be catered for.

"We have a company that works with us, called Kago Yabana Foundation, which will be doing the distribution along with officials from the department," said Mahlalela.

Speaking on behalf of Kago Yabana Foundation, Sandile Mokgope told Sowetan due to the vastness of the province, they have partnered with other small businesses to help them carry out the work.

"Under normal situations we are able to reach all the corners, but due to the lockdown, we have doubled our efforts to reach other areas and other people. Hence we have partnered with other small businesses based in the three regions of the province to supply the food and those necessities," said Mokgope.

"As we battle the spread of the virus, our food is being checked for quality assurance. We're also going to give them necessities that include sanitisers as some people do not have the means to buy them themselves the necessities meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus," added Mokgope.

The department of social development's toll-free number is 0800-020-4098.

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