Watch: Mpumalanga government official accused of food parcel fraud
Allegations of corruption continue to haunt government's Social Relief of Distress programme.
Video footage, allegedly showing the Deputy Speaker of Mpumalanga’s Provincial Legislature, Vusi Mkhatshwa, receiving a home delivery of food parcels meant for the poor, has caused outrage on social media.
As South Africa continues to languish under the heavy socioeconomic burden of lockdown, government’s feeding schemes, intended to mitigate starvation amongst the country’s most vulnerable, have been marred by corruption and political favouritism.
The food parcel programme, overseen nationally by the Department of Social Development, has become the subject of fierce controversy. President Cyril Ramaphosa, himself, has addressed the issue of misconduct, condemning public officials who have been caught in the act. After receiving numerous complaints from local government, Ramaphosa noted that individual interference with the food parcel project would be dealt with “harshly”.
Watch: Mpumalanga Deputy Speaker ‘receiving food parcels‘
Mkhatshwa, who has not yet issued a statement concerning the recent allegations, finds himself at the centre of the latest food parcel scandal. According to commentary which accompanied a video posted to social media, Mkhatshwa was caught ‘red handed’ receiving food parcels, delivered by a DSD truck, at his place of residence in Barberton. The narrator also pointed to the presence of Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) officials, saying:
“Food parcels are being delivered to Vusi Mkhatshwa. It’s very clear; there’s a truck, there’s EPWP people… these people are out of order.
They are taking food that is meant for the people for themselves and their comrades. These are food parcels meant for the poor.”
The footage, which was allegedly filmed in Ward 44, has since caused an outcry on social media, with many citizens calling for an urgent investigation into the matter.
Neither Mkhatshwa nor the Mpumalanga Provincial Government has issued comment concerning the allegations.
Problems with government’s Social Relief of Distress programme
In April, the South African Police Service (SAPS) swooped on several suspects alleged to be involved in food parcel fraud.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have claimed that local African National Congress (ANC) officials, tasked with delivering food parcels to those in need, have instead hoarded consumables and exhibited political prejudice when working in communities.
The Social Relief of Distress programme intends to deliver 250 000 food parcels to South Africans in need.