The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has been reliably informed by NGOs from all regions in the province that the permits that were issued by the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) regional directors are only for the distribution of non-perishable foods.
They are therefore prohibited to prepare and distribute any cooked food with their DSD permits.
It is worrying that many shelters, drop-in centres and soup kitchens, where NGO’s cater for the most vulnerable and destitute are now forced to stop these feeding schemes funded by the private sector in fear of being arrested.
NGOs are further 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.
It is appalling, how the DSD has brought in yet more red tape to cripple the operations of the NGOs and their assistance to the most vulnerable.
The only beneficiaries of the constant moving of the goal posts 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 DSD needs to realise that it cannot 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 goal posts.
The DA calls for these stringent measures for NGOs to be scrapped once and for all, and for the DSD to allow NGOs to assist the most vulnerable where the department has failed to do so.