MOSSEL BAY NEWS - The decision to extend South Africa's lockdown until the end of April caused havoc in some areas of Mossel Bay, hours after president Cyril Ramaphosa announced the extension.
National police spokesperson, Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, says some residents of Asla Park started looting shops and four shops were broken into in the Dube informal settlement at about 04:45 on Friday, 10 April.
The country had already been in lockdown for two weeks and the lockdown was due to be lifted this week.
The president said evidence suggested the lockdown had limited the spread of Covid-19. In Asla Park angry residents assaulted one of the alleged looters, a man in his 30s. The man was hit to death and was found by police when the Public Order Police Unit arrived on the scene.
Naidoo says looters fled in different directions when they saw the police and no arrests have yet been made. The identity of the deceased is being withheld until his next of kin have been informed about his death.
Schools launch feeding schemes
Schools in Mossel Bay restored their feeding schemes despite Parliament's oversight committee criticising the Western Cape government's decision to feed thousands of poor school children during the lockdown.
The Western Cape Education Department has vowed to continue its Food Nutrition Programme (FNP), even though the Independent Civic Organisation of SA (Icosa) laid a criminal charge on Monday, 13 April in Mossel Bay, claiming it contravenes national lockdown regulations. See article on page ***.
Head of Education Brian Schreuder says social distancing will be applied and learners will not sit in a classroom or at school and eat their food. "Children should, where feasible, wear their school uniform so that the law enforcement authorities can more easily identify them as learners and ensure that they proceed home immediately after collecting their food." Schreuder appeals to all principals to be supportive.
The projected loss of income due to the lockdown has resulted in a devastating increase in poverty and food insecurity in Mossel Bay. Disruptions in household income from the pandemic and lockdown pose serious risks to households and on Monday, 13 April, the Department of Social Development (DSD) distributed food parcels to needy households in the greater Mossel Bay area. The Red Cross has delivered the food parcels.
Last week, the Mossel Bay Municipality opened a call centre for applicants applying for emergency food relief.
The municipality provided essential support to the Department of Social Development under the relevant legislation. The DSD was mandated by both the national and provincial governments and was provided funding to procure emergency food relief considering the predetermined qualifying criteria.
The DSD also distributes to communities in the greater Mossel Bay area. Thousands of applications have been registered on a database and just over 1 000 food parcels could be delivered to those in need.
Municipal spokesperson Nickey le Roux also confirmed that learners waited in line in an orderly way and observed social distancing rules during the handout.
Compassionate members of the community have leapt to address the dire need among the poor. The Mossel Bay Covid-19 Donations, Supplies & Information facebook page, with about 1 300 members, has been used as a platform to achieve this.
According to Donalda Bantom, one of the nine administrators of the page, the group has been inundated with requests for help.
"In the past two weeks, we have been delivering food parcels all over Mossel Bay. The need among people doesn't apply to a community, race or face."
Bantom and her team have put the correct documentation in place to enable them to move around during lockdown to help where needed. They are also reaching out to those in rural areas and farms around Mossel Bay.
She expressed her concern that in some cases, food parcels are not reaching those whose need seems to be the greatest. "We move around in the community and know exactly where the direst needs are."
Bantom says that since the start of the project, funded by herself and a few others, and through donations received, they reached out to about 1 000 people. There are wonderful people out there who support this project, in fact many of us did not realise the magnitude of joblessness in our area."
Bantom also said the group was aiming at establishing soup kitchens in areas where most needed. These, she says, will operate in such a way that social distancing is adhered to.
Anyone wishing to support this initiative can visit Mossel Bay Covid-19 Donations, Supplies & Information on facebook.
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