Opposition party the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Friday that it was heading to court with a case against Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, saying the regulations enforced on the distribution of food parcels were “irrational”.
Zulu enforced a ban on soup kitchens and drew up tight regulations that hindered the distribution of food parcels by nongovernment organisations (NGOs) and charities.
DA shadow cabinet member James Lorimer said the draft regulations were issued two weeks ago and had already been applied despite not being legally processed.
Lorimer said Zulu did not follow proper procedures and that the regulations contradicted the constitutional right to food, adding that as a result thousands of people had suffered malnutrition and hunger.
“Thousands of formal and informal NGOs have been feeding people and are well informed about where help is most needed. It should be the role of government to let them get on with it and fill in the gaps,” he said.
Lorimer noted that during a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee meeting on Thursday Zulu denied blocking food distribution but contradicted herself by defending her restrictive regulations, saying they were to ‘ensure coordination” of food relief efforts.
“Anybody who believes the Department of Social Development, which cannot even properly pay South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) grants, can in two weeks establish a countrywide network to feed millions of people is deluded,” he stated.
He said the DA knew that Zulu was “dissembling and floundering”.
“What we don’t know is whether she really believes her department is so efficient it can feed millions (which has already been disproved by facts on the ground) or whether she is so cynical that she doesn’t care if people can starve just so long as she can control the supply of food for the purpose of getting votes. Cynically deluded or biblically wicked,” Lorimer said.