The South African government may replace food parcels that are being looted by councillors with vouchers, it emerged on Sunday.
Higher education and training minister Blade Nzimande said on Sunday the government was concerned about reports of corruption in the distribution of food parcels.
“Government is looking at the issue very closely with the possibility of looking at alternatives to food parcels such as vouchers,” he said.
Nzimande was speaking at the release of the outcome of the second part of a research report by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) on the impact of the coronavirus on South Africans.
He added that the R500 billion stimulus package announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa had addressed the issue of access to food and food security.
Last week, it emerged that municipal councillors were looting food parcels meant to be distributed to the poor across the country as millions went hungry because of the national lockdown.
The alleged incidents of corruption and food looting currently taking place have been reported in several provinces, where claims are being made that those in charge of the distributions – mostly ANC councillors – are not giving the food to the needy families, according to City Press.
The newspaper stated that there are fears that food-related protests, which have flared up in some provinces, could escalate if the national government does not intervene.
In Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality in Zeerust, two ANC councillors were suspended following allegations that they were asking for food parcel contributions from businesses, including foreign ones, for personal gains. For more read: Coronavirus: ANC Councillors ‘Looting” Food Parcels for the Poor
On Monday, Ramaphosa expressed concern at the alleged theft of food parcels meant to assist distressed families and individuals during the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown.
“A number of provinces have received reports that callous individuals, some of them allegedly government officials, are hoarding or selling food parcels earmarked for the needy and destitute, or diverting them to their friends and families,” said the President in his weekly newsletter.
In the letter, the President vowed to deal with individuals should the allegations prove to be true.