We slept here to get food: Olievenhoutbosch residents get aid amid confinement

Porters with wheelbarrows and carts queue to help residents of the Olievenhoutbosch township to carry their food parcels during a food distribution.

Porters with wheelbarrows and carts queue to help residents of the Olievenhoutbosch township to carry their food parcels during a food distribution.

AFP/Marco Longari

PRETORIA - A human chain stretched several kilometres through Olievenhoutbosch on Saturday, past police officers and armoured vehicles.

Residents had waited overnight for a non-governmental organisation to distribute 2,200 tonnes of food, masks and gel disinfectant.

"We slept here in order to get this food.

"We slept here to catch the queues," said Ndaba Mkhwanazi, who is unemployed.

READ: Gauteng officials step in at Olievenhoutbosch

"So it took too long because we are too many, but at least we appreciate what the government is doing."

On March 27, President Cyril Ramaphosa ordered confinement measures for the country that plunged millions of poor people into dire situations.

They often depend on informal jobs to survive, and in recent weeks isolated incidents erupted in several townships as people demanded food aid promised by the government.

READ: SA Lockdown: Eating dumpster food to survive

The country was already in recession however, and it has now begun to gradually lift the confinement measures.

"People need to eat, they need to earn a living," Ramaphosa acknowledged.

In Olievenhoutbosch, the Mahlasedi Foundation hoped to distribute food parcels to 30,000 people.

READ: Ramaphosa: Vulnerable citizens to be shielded from starvation during lockdown

"We're working with each area," noted foundation worker Sfiso Msiza.

"We’ve already handed out tags for food so now they must come here and get their food," she explained.

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Source
AFP