The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has alleged that NGOs from all regions in the province have found themselves having to stop the feeding schemes they run – which are funded by the private sector – as they are in fear of being arrested.
The party further alleges that this is because the permits that were issued to them by the Gauteng department of social development (DSD) are only for the distribution of non-perishable foods.
This prohibits them from preparing and distributing any cooked food.
DA Gauteng MPL and spokesperson for social development Crezane Bosch in a statement: “NGOs are forced by the DSD to obtain a permit on a daily basis for that specific day and in some instances where home-cooked meals are delivered to various places by one specific NGO, they will require a permit per address that they wish to serve food at.”
Bosch went on to label the DSD’s alleged crippling of the operations of the NGOs and their assistance to the most vulnerable by bringing in more red tape, “appalling”.
“The only beneficiaries of the constant moving of the goalposts is the DSD itself. It cannot continue to monopolise all distribution pertaining to food or assistance to the vulnerable, while our people in Gauteng die of starvation.
“It also appears that our calls for more support for NGOs from the DSD are falling on deaf ears during this critical period of suffering.”
The party said that the DSD needed to realise that it could not fight poverty alone.
“It requires the experience, knowledge and support of the NGOs, but cannot expect it either if it alienates NGOs through red tape and the constant moving of goalposts.”
The party wants the measures scrapped and for the DSD to allow NGOs to assist the most vulnerable where the department has failed to do so.