Tired of waiting

Solomon Philander, Wolfgat Sub-council chairman and councillor for Ward 79

I empathise with families who are burdened with the extra cost of being at home and providing extra meals with the same, less or no income due to the lockdown. I also feel sorry for the beneficiaries of a South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grants because their “payday” for next month has been postponed to May 6.

Grants are usually available on the first day of the month.

I am mindful that families are taking strain. In the light of this one can appreciate that families can do with extra support, especially a food parcel.

I am aware of people going door to door, collecting personal information and promising people a food parcel irrespective of them meeting the necessary criteria. This has raised expectations and people are now tired of waiting as they were promised a food parcel.

Social Relief of Distress was always a programme of Sassa who provided relief to people, who have no income or did not receive a Sassa grant – for whatever reason.

During the Covid-19 lockdown Sassa doors were closed to the public and social relief funding was channelled to the provincial Department of Social Development to manage.

Various people have used this opportunity to play a political game with people’s stomachs on social media.

The provincial department of social development has communicated that the following people may qualify for relief during the lockdown: a person, who has tested positive for the virus, is in isolation, and does not have means of support during lockdown; a patient on chronic medication, who was referred by a medical doctor; and a beneficiary waiting for their Sassa grant to be prioritised.

To access the grant call 079 769 1207 or the Department of Social Development (DSD) general enquiries on 080 022 0250 (Monday to Friday 7am to 4pm) or 086 014 2142.

As a ward councillor, I have distributed food parcels, received from Mayor Dan Plato, to needy people.

Among my beneficiaries were an Uber driver in Eastridge; an unemployed person who survives off selling recycled goods to the scrapyard; people doing piecemeal work and due to lockdown they are unable to go out to work as this is not part of essential work; an unemployed person living in the backyard generally surviving from domestic work.

Through a partnership I delivered a few food parcels for distribution by a pastor couple in Eastridge.

With the local community partnership between the Mitchell’s Plain Community Health Centre, Beaconvale Community Frail Care Centre and Sassa, people who applied for a disability grant are not being delayed due to lockdown.

The doctor who assesses the disability medically sees the patients off-site and applications can be processed.

The ward councillor also submitted the names of all Mitchell’s Plain beneficiaries waiting for an outcome of disability grant applications to the provincial Department of Social Development.

Through the Western Cape Education Department’s (WCED) feeding programme in Ward 79, Imperial, Beacon View, Eastville and Littlewood primary schools have additional feeding stops

Personally with the help of a person in the private sector and friends we have established a temporary feeding programme at two feeding stops.

Businesses have indicated that they will hand out food parcels and food in Eastridge over the next couple of days that will give much relief to the community.

I welcome any business in Mitchell’s Plain to assist the struggling community during this time through their own initiatives or to support an initiative to give relief to the community.

Businesses can also support the councillors’ feeding stops by donating in kind to these initiatives.

What we need during this time is to pull through and assist where we can. It is not time to raise expectations of food parcels if you know you don’t have the resources.

If any political party can wear their colours and deliver the parcels at the door I would welcome that but if you raise expectations to fish for personal data with the intent to get votes then I want to condemn your action.