Tembisa councillor, pastors accused of taking donated food parcels for themselves

Tembisa residents have accused a councillor and pastor of taking food parcels for themselves
Tembisa residents have accused a councillor and pastor of taking food parcels for themselves
Image: Gino Santa Maria/123RF

An initiative meant to help the poor with food has been tainted by allegations that a Tembisa councillor wanted to take the parcels for himself.

There was commotion yesterday when Somali, Ethiopian and Bangladesh spaza shop owners arrived in the area to donate 150 food parcels at Vusimuzi section of the township.

The community got angry as the parcels were handed over to ward 90 councillor Hendrick Selwane and several pastors who were also accused of taking the food parcels for their own friends and families. Community member Sipho Mkhabela said they knew nothing about the donations and questioned how the councillor and the pastors identified beneficiaries.

"The business people are doing a brilliant initiative but what we are against is political leaders going behind our backs to receive parcels from shop owners. If this was an open charity event they would have called the community and given those who deserve the parcels in public, not to private individuals who load the groceries into their vehicles,” said Mkhabela.

However, Selwane said the community has had issues with the shop owners since September. He said he personally identified beneficiaries. “They do not want to see these businessmen doing something that will give them a good name in our communities. I asked leaders from different sections to write a list of needy people and for the leaders to come and receive the parcels on their behalf and then hand them over to them. We asked for donations and the businessmen responded,” Selwane said.

Spaza shop owner Getahun Shefarw said they decided to come together as business people to give back to the communities that have been supporting them. “We realised that people have lost their jobs and some have remained home due to the lockdown restrictions. We aimed to donate the little that we can give to individuals and less-fortunate families,” said Shefarw.

A member of the Vusimuzi Business Forum, Jackina Lamola, said they disrupted the event because they knew nothing about it. “We live in Vusimuzi and what happened here today was disappointing because we have disabled people and the elderly who were not called for food parcels, so we really want to know where these parcels were taken to.”

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.