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Task team commits to go ahead with food distribution efforts

The task team created by the civil rights organisation AfriForum and the family farmer network Saai, in cooperation with Solidarity Helping Hand’s Joseph Silos, distributed more than ten tons of citrus products at 20 care homes in the Pretoria region today, despite efforts by the government to centralise the distribution of food. Solidarity Helping Hand also sent a further ten tons of citrus directly to Benoni for distribution.

This initiative entails the distribution of food and essential items to poor individuals, families, and institutions such as children’s homes, old age homes and clinics in communities across the country, especially in light of the current challenging situation many communities are facing.

AfriForum, working closely with Saai, is responsible for the distribution on ground level from the Joseph Silos and other institutions to ensure that goods – such as those being packed and prepared by Solidarity Helping Hand – reach destitute groups as quickly as possible. Family farmers can deliver food and donations at the nearest Helping Hand Silos or other distribution points, and AfriForum will be responsible for the micro distribution of food and other items to the poor.

According to Ian Cameron, Head of Community Safety at AfriForum, the civil rights organisation will continue to distribute food to people in the community who are in need.

“According to AfriForum there is no legal basis for the attempts by authorities to have food distribution centralised under government control. Civil society has a role to play in the current emergency situation and we will continue to fulfil this role, regardless of people who want to unlawfully centralise food distribution.”

“Saai’s position regarding the regulation of donations is clear: we will not allow donations that were entrusted to us by farmers to distribute to the most vulnerable individuals, to be regulated by government. This is why Saai is involved in this initiative in collaboration with AfriForum and Solidarity Helping Hand,” says Francois Rossouw, CEO of Saai.

“Solidarity Helping Hand has already instructed our legal team to examine the legality of these regulations. There are widespread reports of the hardships our people have to endure during the lockdown – there is a lot of uncertainty and people are losing hope. People are uncertain on political, economic and social levels. During this time of need we should encourage each other and show gratitude towards donors, volunteers and for all donations. Today’s donation emphasises the fact that we are stronger together and that people are still able to create hope in times of uncertainty.  With every passing day, Helping Hand is increasingly thankful for the cooperation and distribution network between Helping Hand, AfriForum, Saai and Solidarity. Our slogan “With heart, in strength, towards hope” that we created three years before COVID-19, has gained added meaning,” says René Roux, Head of Communication at Solidarity Helping Hand.

The distribution of citrus products also ties in with AfriForum’s immunity initiative to promote health within communities.

People can also make donations to the Solidarity Movement’s emergency fund to support this project.

Account holder:       Solidarity Helping Hand
Bank:                          FNB
Account number:    62 331 445 503
Branch:                      Centurion (branch code: 250 655)
Reference:                Corona
Swift code:                FIRN ZA JJ

Visit www.helpendehand.co.za and click on the link for social assistance to apply for aid.

Photo 1: Ian Cameron, AfriForum’s Head of Community Safety and Morné Mostert, AfriForum’s Head of Local Government with Gellie Geldenhuys and Attie den Houden of the Emily Hobhouse Home in Capital Park.

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