Mangaung Democratic Alliance (DA) Councillor Prof Fief van der Merwe has exposed a room full of food parcels at the Manguang Metro’s Municipal Headquarters, the Bram Fischer Building, in Bloemfontein. See picture here.
Attempts were made by individuals in yellow overalls posing as security guards to prevent him from taking pictures of the food parcels. Attempts were also made to intimidate him and take his telephone from him.
This comes after the Mangaung Administrator, Adv. Mzwakhe Mofokeng, indicated to the DA Mangaung Caucus Leader Councillor Hardie Viviers that no food parcels were being purchased by the Metro Municipality.
The actions of the security guards and the devious and secretive manner in which food parcels are managed in Mangaung support other allegations and evidence of food parcel abuse in the Free State.
The political nature of food parcel distribution in the Free State remains a serious concern to the DA. The ANC-run provincial government and municipalities have a history of abusing state resources for party political purposes and conflating the boundaries of political party and state.
The DA have compiled a report (see here) based on information received from DA councillors in various municipalities across the province. This report paints a picture of abuse, the lack of transparency and even coercion regarding the distribution of food support in municipalities. The areas of concern include:
- The capture of food parcels and distribution by ANC councillors and NGOs run by ANC structures;
- The political and nepotistic distribution of food parcels in the province;
- The coercion of non-state actors to hand over food parcels to ANC councillors;
- The side-lining of the opposition, even opposition ward councillors, and Municipal Councils thereby also any oversight and accountability in the acquisition, and distribution of food parcels;
- A lack of clear criteria or procedures for the distribution of food parcels to residents who require these most; and
- The secretive and non-transparent management of food parcel acquisition and distribution across the province.
The DA regards the use of people’s hunger as a tool to benefit politicians as a sinister and cynical abuse of power, and a crime against these desperate people.
The DA will hold the Provincial Government and the Premier and her MECs accountable.
The DA has already submitted various questions to the Provincial Executive in the Free State Provincial Legislature and will also use Committees to obtain further information on these and various other Covid-19 related issues. This will also be done in various Municipal Councils.