A hunger catastrophe was averted in the country thanks to civil organisations that distributed food parcels to those in need when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, experts say.
In that first month-and-a-half of lockdown, the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) reported that the national number of people who were no longer getting an income had spiralled from 5.2% to 15.4% – and worse was expected to come.
According to the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security, and the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation in the Western Cape, civil society was on the move in determined fashion.
In 74 days from March 25, they fed more than 41 000 hungry people every day; prepared more than 3 million meals; distributed nearly 80 000 food parcels; and assisted households and community kitchens with digital shopping vouchers to the value of R854 700.
At a meeting hosted by the centre, co-ordinator of the Food Relief Co-ordination Forum Andrew Boraine commended the sheer magnitude of civil society contributions.
The civil society contribution accounted for 50% of the total relief effort in the Western Cape, and that was probably still an undercount. The new challenge is to turn those short-term relief efforts into long-term recovery policies and future plans.
This is an abridged version of the article published by Cape Times. Read the full article here.