PICS: Queues for kilometres as 11,000 food parcels distributed in Pretoria

A woman carries a stool on her head after she queued for several hours to reach a distribution of hampers, masks, soap and sanitiser organised by different charities at the Iterileng informal settlement near Laudium, Pretoria, on May 20, 2020. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI / AFP)

About 11,000 food parcels containing maize meal, loaves of bread, food hampers, soap, sanitiser and masks were distributed to residents of the Iterileng informal settlement near Laudium in Pretoria on Wednesday.

According to joint coordinator Yusuf Abramjee, queues started forming from 16:00, and at times it stretched for some 3km.

A local football stadium was filled with hundreds of people forming lines that continued into the shack settlement.

The distribution was a joint initiative by Meal SA, Operation SA, the South African National Zakah Fund, Pepkor, the Tshwane Muslim community, Valtrans, Foodline, Advance Cash & Carry, Kit Kat and others.

Abramjee said the need for food was “massive and people are desperate”.

“We have a crisis. Half of the people in Iterileng are foreigners and no one has received any help from government.”

Another coordinator Shakeel Amod said: “It all went well. We are happy to have made a difference to our neighbours in need.”

Community member Asgar Akoob, also a coordinator, said Wednesday’s distribution of food and sanitising products followed a previous distribution in Mooiplaas, Spruit, that saw to the needs of close to 10 000 recipients who turned out in a queue of close to 3km.

Smiley Essa and Yusuf “Joe” Suliman thanked all the volunteers and donors. “Thank you for making a difference.”

Social cohesion advocate and humanitarian Catherine Constantinides said: “The power of civil society is felt at times such as these. We cannot discriminate when it comes to feeding our communities.

“Our people will die of hunger before they die of Covid-19 if we continue like this. I applaud this collective effort of solidarity.”

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