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KZN social development MEC warns councillors to stop food parcel 'dirty tricks'

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for social development Nonhlanhla Khoza has pleaded with ward councillors to stop “playing dirty politics games” amid allegations that some were unfairly distributing food parcels during the lockdown.

“We are receiving negative news about the behaviour of some councillors. The president has given us a mandate to feed South Africa and we can't be playing our dirty games over food. Covid-19 does not see politics, it affects everyone,” said Khoza.

Khoza was making reference to allegations that councillors in some areas had given food only to people affiliated to a particular political party.

The MEC was speaking at a warehouse in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday where 13,000 food parcels were being prepared for distribution across the province.

The department roped in a number of volunteers, including musicians, to lend a hand to the programme. 

One of the areas that benefited from the food distribution drive was eNtokozweni, a small community in Empendle in the KZN Midlands.

For 65-year-old resident Rosaline Ngobese, the food parcel came as much-needed relief for her family of eight.

“I am the mom and the dad at home, I don't work and no-one at home works. We rely on grants. This virus has left us all confused we don't know what to take and what to leave. We did not expect this food from the government,” she said.

Ngobese said her eldest daughter worked in a kitchen as a cook but since lockdown, she was not able to work, which meant that they didn't have extra money to buy food.

The food parcel included 10kg of rice, maize meal, canned goods and vegetables which Ngobese said would last her four children and three grandchildren more than a month.

Meanwhile, when asked about foreigners in need of assistance but who feared deportation, the MEC said their mandate “is not to deport people, for now, our mandate given by the president is to feed the country during lockdown”.

She also pleaded with municipalities to hold ward councillors accountable for their actions.

“I am pleading with councillors and speakers of municipalities because our councillors are accountable to them because of the municipality rules. If any councillors are found to be doing [anything wrong], then that speaker needs to hold them accountable,” she said.