Solidarity Helping Hand plans to take govt to court over food distribution

Olievenhoutbosch residents can be seen queuing with wheel barrows outside a school, 5 May 2020, Pretoria. 30 000 homes were sponsored food parcels by Telesure Investments in conjunction with Mahlasedi foundation, people in the community offered to deliver the parcels to resident’s homes with their wheelbarrows for R20 per delivery. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Legal advice obtained by the organisation indicated it was unlawful to implement requirements like registering people who wanted to distribute food.

Solidarity Helping Hand says it is preparing to take legal action against the government for allegedly centralising food distribution to the poor.

In a statement on Monday, the organisation said it would take legal action “should [the government] continue to implement regulations prescribing that the distribution of food to the poor be centralised under government control”.

“It would be a sad day for the country, and people in distress will suffer if the distribution of food is centralised and controlled as a result of so-called government ‘regulations’,” it added.

The organisation’s executive director, Hannes Noëth, said there was concern about the management of food distribution to the poor by provincial and regional governments.

He added it would hold discussions with the relevant authorities in the meantime to get clarity on the matter, adding it had created confusion and “does not serve the purpose of caring for people”.

Some areas have allegedly implemented requirements in this regard, including registration for those who want to distribute food.

Legal advice obtained by the organisation indicated it was unlawful to implement these requirements, Noëth said.

“Uncertainty about this matter is currently creating panic among the needy and uncertainty among donors.

“Solidarity Helping Hand opposes central control, that is to say, controlling power over the distribution of food. Central distribution of food will be an abuse of power at the expense of the poor and those in distress,” he added.

Comment from the Department of Social Development was not available despite several attempts by News24 to contact it.

The department’s comment will be added once received.

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