Prompted by a rise in Covid-19 infections amid the third wave, South Africa entered Level 4 lockdown on 27 June. The lockdown, coupled with inadequate government income-relief measures, has pummelled businesses in sectors that were already on fragile footing, and deepened hunger for many households.
The violence and destructive lawlessness which has unfolded in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal has only added fuel to the fire, worsening levels of food insecurity and unemployment in the country.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in South Africa, charities, NGOs and other organisations have been working tirelessly to assist those in need. Amid the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, crowdfunding campaigns and community feeding schemes and clean-up efforts have sprung up almost overnight.
Nearly 18 months into the pandemic, more South Africans are encouraged to give where they can, no matter how small the contribution is.
‘The crisis has simply grown’
“The need is growing exponentially,” said Badr Kazi, spokesperson for Gift of the Givers, South Africa’s largest disaster relief NGO.
“The Covid-19 pandemic economic crisis has now been aggravated by the political crisis in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Kazi.
“The crisis has simply grown.”
Amid the chaos, there was a brief period where Gift of the Givers was unable to deliver aid over safety concerns, said Kazi. However, the NGO soon “hit the ground running” and is now operating at maximum capacity.
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The crisis in KwaZulu-Natal is beyond an NGO or civil society’s scope; the political crisis needs to be dealt with “from the top down,” said Kazi. The role of charities, NGOs and other non-profit organisations should be to fill in the gaps — it can’t be the other way around, he said.
“But what’s been encouraging for us as an NGO is that, in spite of all of these challenges, South Africans are still rallying around,” said Kazi. Out of the crisis in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng has grown a greater sense of “purpose and unity” among individuals and civil society organisations.
In the aftermath, many organisations, charities and local businesses have been arranging clean up operations and raising money for food packages, medical supplies and other essential items for the communities affected.
Rebuilt RSA has been organising clean-ups and delivering food to those in need. Those affected and those wanting to volunteer or donate have offered their services in person and online through the Rebuild RSA Facebook group and Instagram page.
The Durban-based organisation, WeFeed SA is calling for donations for food packages to feed communities suffering from food insecurity after the unrest in the province.
It costs R500 for a food hamper that feeds a family of four for 10 days.
Future Females has launched a Business Relief Fund to assist and support entrepreneurs and business owners who have been affected by the looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
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