[WSMDiscuss] (Fwd) Resistance rises: SA's C19 People's Coalition issues new overview statement, including "We reject the term ‘food riots’ which suggests that people are merely angry or ill-disciplined. What we are seeing are food rebellions of the poor – people who say: we will not sit quietly indoors and starve; if we have no alternative, we will take the food we need."

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sat Apr 18 10:16:51 CEST 2020


(I understand that more economic demands are on the way, too, given this 
excellent network's critique of utterly self-destructive, 
brutally-neoliberal fiscal and monetary policy 
practiced in Pretoria.

     More webinars are scheduled such as the Food Sovereignty Campaign's 
one on income support on Monday, followed by the C19 People's Coalition 
online people's assembly next Tuesday, for those fortunate enough to 
jump SA's notorious Digital Divide.

     And given state failure, there are also impressive civil society 
mutual aid systems emerging, as can be seen in just one of many examples 
way below, and the progressive feminist call just below, made by several 
of South Africa's finest struggle-solidarity organisations.)

Covid19 People's Coalition SA
C19 (Online) People's Assembly Tuesday 21 April 2020, 2pm to 5pm To RSVP 
follow the link below and fill out the form. 



Home <https://c19peoplescoalition.org.za/> / C19PC Statements 
<https://c19peoplescoalition.org.za/category/statements/> / STATEMENT: 
Lives over profits! Bread not bullets!

    STATEMENT: Lives over profits! Bread not bullets!

Posted April 17, 2020 <https://c19peoplescoalition.org.za/2020/04/>
  In C19PC Statements 

The C19 People’s Coalition <https://c19peoplescoalition.org.za/>was born 
a month ago, and includes 250 organisations from across civil society in 
all provinces, including community-based organisations, social 
movements, non-governmental organisations, research institutions, 
faith-based organisations and others. It is the broadest grouping of 
civil society that has come together to address the current crisis. We 
have developed a Programme of Action (POA) 

Our rationale is that government alone cannot combat a health crisis of 
this scale; community and wider societal participation is critical if 
the measures that medical science requires us to undertake are to 
implement in a just and equitable manner. The failure of government and 
the state to fully align itself with this approach has shone a light on 
acute societal problems that as a matter of urgency now need to be 

The People’s Coalition recognises that the pandemic will mean for many, 
many months we will be in the storm of a human catastrophe that will 
take countless lives and the only way to limit the human cost of this 
crisis is for government to work alongside all our people.

We as the C19 People’s Coalition have got 10 working groups operational, 
focusing on issues of health, food, gender and gender-based violence, 
basic needs and psychosocial support, economic policy, community 
organising, repression, education, workers’ rights and regional 
solidarity. We have a further 9 working groups working across these 
issues in all the provinces. We have a system of providing data to key 
community activists and organisers, to ensure that their experiences and 
voices are foregrounded in all we do.

      *The People are hungry! Top up the Child Support Grant and open
      the informal sector! *

*The COVID-19 pandemic is being experienced by most people in South 
Africa primarily as a food crisis.*An estimated 5.5 million informal 
sector workers have lost their livelihoods and have no cash incomes. 
This is affecting 16.5 million people.

We reject the term ‘food riots’ which suggests that people are merely 
angry or ill-disciplined. What we are seeing are /food rebellions of the 
poor/– people who say: we will not sit quietly indoors and starve; if we 
have no alternative, we will take the food we need.

At present the state efforts to provide food aid have illustrated two 
central problems, a severely constrained capacity and the politicisation 
of distribution. What we require is the capacity to provide aid to 
millions across society in a non-partisan manner, this can only be 
implemented through activating hundreds of thousands of community 
volunteers to plan, implement and monitor such a programme.

      *Corporate food system protected: informal sector shut down*

We at the C19 People’s Coalition are organising alternative food 
distribution systems around the country and also working in poor and 
vulnerable communities with those who produce and sell food, especially 
in the informal food economy. This is a massive economic sector that 
contributes about R360 billion per year to our country’s GDP. While 
commercial farming, corporate supply chains and formal retail have been 
protected as essential services during the national lockdown, our member 
organisations and networks across the country show us that the informal 
food system which is run primarily by and for the poor, has been largely 
closed down.

      *The food crisis and social solidarity*

We welcome and stand in solidarity with all those growing, buying, 
preparing and giving food to those in need. The Community Action 
Networks (CANs) show what social solidarity can achieve. But none of 
this absolves the government of its constitutional duty to ensure that 
everyone in this country – whether they are a citizen or not – has 
access to sufficient food. If government prevents people from working to 
get money to buy food, then it must take adequate measures to compensate 
and ensure people can get the food they need not only to survive but to 
live a dignified life.

We see no way that food aid can reach the scale that is required, either 
now during the lockdown, or in the immediate aftermath when we expect 
this food crisis to continue, as businesses close and jobs are lost. 
Government, even with the best partnerships with civil society and the 
private sector, simply cannot do it. You can’t do food parcels for 20 
million people, and you can’t sustain this for months. The only option 
available to government is to use cash transfers as the primary 
immediate way to enable the vast majority of households facing a hunger 
crisis to access food.

      *Urgent proposals*

We call on government to:

 1. *Substitute for the school feeding schemes*that provide a crucial
    lifeline to poor households and vulnerable children. Children must
    be able to collect food from schools or other accessible public
    collection points. This includes rural schools, where the children
    of farm workers in particular are vulnerable; those who are
    producing our food are among those most at risk of hunger. In the
    absence of this, poor children are more at risk of dying of
    malnutrition than of the Coronavirus.
 2. *Open up and support the informal food economy: *instruct all state
    institutions, including the police and army, to support and assist
    all small-scale farmers, small-scale fishers, informal food traders
    including those involved with transporting and preparing food, and
    expedite the issuing of permits to all those in the informal food
    system. Government needs to provide a guaranteed market to those
    whose supply chains have been interrupted. We welcome the R1.2
    billion relief fund for small-scale farmers announced last week by
    Minister Didizia, and have yesterday submitted a proposal for how
    these funds can be better targeted and delivered. We call on the
    Minister responsible for fisheries to come up with an equivalent
    plan for small-scale fishers.
 3. *Open up public spaces and infrastructure for informal food traders.
    *This will enable food vendors to trade safely, close to where
    people are. Instead of trading at taxi ranks and train stations,
    people can trade at schools and other public spaces, where they can
    have shelter and access to water. This will enable food vendors to
    trade safely, closer to where people are than shopping malls.
 4. *Top up the Child Support Grant by R500 for six months, and do it
    immediately*, in time for payout in the first week of May. This is
    the most far-reaching, pro-poor and pro-women way to compensate for
    the massive loss of incomes. Government has received two letters
    from a broad platform of civil society organisations, community
    organisations and academic institutions. All the evidence is there.
    Government does have the money and can make R40 billionavailable
    over the coming 6 months. This will reach 13 million grantees.
    Despite having had all this information, and widespread consensus
    across society, government has not yet made any announcement. We
    call on the Cabinet to immediately approve and announce this urgent
    measure. Immediate relief is now essential, which is why /our
    primary recommendation to deal with the food crisis is to top up the
    Child Support Grant immediately/.

      *Build one universal national health care system now! *

We are concerned at the lack of readiness of the health system to roll 
out testing and care for the critically ill. Testing now and into the 
future existing requires massive expansion far beyond what is currently 
being implemented. Four weeks on we have only conducted 90, 000 PCR 
tests. Our ability to contain the virus rests on the ability to have a 
very clear understanding of infection patterns and hotspots demanding 
that hundreds of thousands of tests are carried out in the coming weeks.

The government must share what its plan is to ramp up COVID testing to 
30, 000 PCR tests per day by month end. The current stockpile of kits of 
600,000 is insufficient and raises additional questions.

We are also facing a likely shortage of ICU beds, currently only several 
thousand with ventilator access. Integration of the private and public 
health system must occur to address this problem. In particular, the 
inability to bring the private sector into a coordinated response should 
be addressed as a priority and should contribute to building one future 
universal national health care system.  Need must be put before profit.

The strategy of using Community Health Workers (CHWs) to screen and 
follow up people requires clear national coordination and support rather 
than leaving this to the discretion of Provincial Health Departments. 
CHWs must be paid adequately, resourced, supported and trained in safety 
protocols and supplied with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment 
(PPE) so they are able to perform these critically important duties. All 
non-essential workers who are unable to work from home to be paid, 
irrespective of their legal status, should be paid UIF.

While we must respond in an extraordinary manner to the COVID-19 
epidemic, we cannot afford to neglect basic primary care at the same 
time. Closure of essential primary care services will have desperate 
consequences for poor and working-class communities, women and 
vulnerable populations dependent on the public sector for health care 
and sexual and reproductive health services.

We need to find ways to ensure that such essential services are not 
displaced by our COVID-19 response. We have seen hospital closures and 
threatened labour disputes as a result of poor infection control.

The Peoples Coalition insists appropriate PPE and training be provided 
for all Health Care Personnel involved in containing the spread of the 
disease and that systems be put in place to protect their health. 
Protection of our front-line responders and their families must be given 
utmost priority.

We need to understand what is the government plan to address the 
existing global shortages of such equipment.

We need transparency from government as a matter of urgency, including 
the structure of ALL decision-making structures in COVID response 
including representation on the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID19.

Essential workers should be those who really make an essential 
contribution to the welfare of the population and should be provided 
with safe conditions of travelling to work and performing their jobs.

      *Humanity over Militarisation! *

The pandemic is a humanitarian crisis and not a security crisis. The 
rounding up of the homeless and the evictions of people from informal 
settlements the removal and relocation of refugees into camps is morally 
unacceptable. The harassment, beating, and rape of township residents 
and informal settlement dwellers by police and the army must stop.

No racist scapegoating: close the refugee centres and provide their 
inmates with housing where they can self-isolate; follow the example of 
Portugal and Ireland and grant the right to remain to migrants and refugees.

We demand the Presidency direct:

 1. The Minister of Justice and Cooperative Governance instruct all
    Metro and local municipalities to bring about an immediate halt to
    all evictions; including those carried out under the guise of “land
    invasion” and “de-densification”.
 2. The Ministers of Police and Defence to immediately cease from using
    excessive force in enforcing the lock down and other regulations
 3. The appointment of an ombudsperson that will investigate all
    complaints of brutality, violence and corruption. We therefore call
    for the appointment of an independent retired Judge with a record in
    human rights work to oversee the implementation of the security
    services of the Disaster Regulations and the actions of State organs
    in respect of COVID-19.
 4. Defend civil liberties: no special powers to the police –
    restrictions on movement to be enforced by local communities.

*Respect Workers Rights! *

Government must immediately honour the Public Sector Bargaining Council 
agreement and pay what was agreed. This is not just a matter of trust. 
Across the world, the welfare of front-line workers has been 
acknowledged as pivotal to tackling the virus.

Public sector workers are already putting themselves at risk on a day to 
day basis. Denying them the agreed increase is adding insult to injury. 
It is well known that many highly skilled public sector workers have to 
take more than one job in order to make ends meet. Our nurses for 
example have been forced into moonlighting for years. This is simply not 

It is clear that even in the throes of the Covid 19 crisis, Government 
is attempting to maintain its austerity programme by stealth. An 
austerity programme that has already impoverished working class 
communities, subjecting them to appalling and worsening levels of 
inequality, service delivery and poverty. The rich of course, the 
corrupt, and the chronically wasteful remain largely untouched.

If the Government continues to undermine collective bargaining, they 
will be responsible when workers are left with no other option but to 
take industrial action.  Claiming that we must all make sacrifices to 
beat the virus has no meaning when some must sacrifice more than others!

      *Next steps for People’s Coalition*

C19 People’s Coalition will be hosting its first mass meeting, an Online 
People’s Assembly, next Tuesday 21 April, where we will further gather 
voices from across the country and develop our responses and proposals. 
We look forward to constructive work with government and others, to 
ensure a socially and economically just response to the COVID pandemic 
and its effects on our country.

We plan to hold weekly press conferences every Friday to update the 
public about different aspects of our work, to report on what is 
happening around the country, and to make further proposals for our 
country’s way forward.


      *For further media comment, contact these Coalition members:*

  * Zelda Holtzman, 082 446 0007
  * Dr Lydia Cairncross, 082 786 7014
  * Prof Ruth Hall, 083 302 2063
  * Myrtle Witbooi, 078 841 4382

*Read the C19 People’s Coalition’s Programme of Action **here* 
<https://c19peoplescoalition.org.za/poa/>*. See the list of currently 
245 organisations that have endorsed the Programme of Action is 
available **here* <https://c19peoplescoalition.org.za/about-us/>*.


    A Programme of Action in the time of COVID-19

By C19Admin <https://c19peoplescoalition.org.za/author/C19Admin/>
  Posted March 24, 2020 <https://c19peoplescoalition.org.za/2020/03/>
  In Education <https://c19peoplescoalition.org.za/category/education/>, 
Organise <https://c19peoplescoalition.org.za/category/organise/>

        *A Programme of Action in the time of COVID-19*

*A call for social solidarity in South Africa*

/We, as civic organisations, trade unions, organisations of informal 
workers, faith-based organisations and community structures in South 
Africa, call on all people, every stakeholder and sector, to contain 
infection, reduce transmission and mitigate the social and political 
impacts of the COVID-19 virus. //
//Government retains a critical role in coordinating actions and 
distributing resources, yet its efforts will not be enough if we do not 
hold it to account and commit to a broad, bottom-up, public effort at 
this time. In a society as unequal as ours, we must work together to 
ensure that all safety measures are shared equitably. //
//We have a particular duty to safeguard those who are most vulnerable, 
those who are already living with hunger, weakened immune systems and 
poor access to health care. Greater restrictions and shutdowns are 
coming, but they will only work if full support is provided to working 
class and poor communities. Drastic measures are needed if we are to 
avoid disaster. Each of us must act now. /

/Acknowledging other statements coming from fellow movements and 
organisations, we put forward the following Programme of Action for all 
of us to work towards in the coming days. /

 1. *Income security for all*
    In order for people to remain at home there must be income security
    for all. Employers must continue to pay salaries or grant sick leave
    while employees are restricted to their homes, and where continued
    salaries are impossible government must provide workers with income
    protection for wages lost during the pandemic. There must be a
    moratorium on retrenchments during this time. Self-employed, casual
    workers and those whose income is suspended at this time must be
    supported by government to prevent job-seeking movement and provide
    income security. The social grant system must be extended to ensure
    the direct transfer of cash to households during this precarious
    time. All defaults on mortgage and debt repayments during this time
    must be non-consequential. All evictions and removals must be
    banned. As Labour has proposed, a bold stimulus package will be
    required in the coming period. These measures must be developed in
    consultation with poor and working-class formations.
 2. *All households, residential institutions, the homeless and the
    informally housed must have easy access to sanitation, especially
    water and safe ablution facilities.*
    There must be an immediate opening of restricted water meters,
    mass-provision of safe water access points with unconstrained flow
    in areas where there is limited household access to water, and
    mass-distribution of safe ablution facilities to informal
    settlements. All of these sanitation points must have access to soap
    and/or sanitizer and information on the prevention of the virus.
 3. *All households, residential institutions, the homeless and the
    informally housed must have access to food *
    If we are to stay at home during this time, access to nutritious
    food is fundamental. The absence of the School Nutrition Programme
    is devastating. A coordinated and safe roll-out of food packages
    directly to distribution points in food-stressed neighbourhoods must
    be implemented. Failing that, the child support grant must be
    augmented. Support for locally-organised food systems must be
 4. *Essential private facilities must be appropriated for public use to
    provide a unified and fair distribution of essential goods and
    services* *to all*

    National resources need to be focused and deployed in order to
    combat the epidemic. Essential services – health centres, food
    services, water and sanitation etc. – should be identified for
    urgent support and extension. This may require the conversion of
    factories and other places of production to produce sanitiser,
    protective clothing, water tanks, soap, food parcels, ventilators
    and other essential medical equipment. Essential private facilities
    must be made available for public use to provide a unified and fair
    distribution of essential goods and services to all. It requires
    that the public and private health systems need to be regarded as
    one national health system and coordinated in the national and
    public interest, also through state appropriation if necessary, as
    Spain recently demonstrated. Finances may have to be mobilised
    through unconventional means such as compulsory national bonds or
    loans, reforms to tax structures and others. Exported food might
    need to be redistributed locally. Regulations on price hikes should
    be implemented.
 5. *Community self-organisation and local action is critical, as it our
    representation in national coordination*
    Civic organisations, community structures, trade unions and
    faith-based organisations will be extremely important in organising
    on the ground during this emergency. We must all take action where
    we are. Civic structures must be engaged, supported and given
    representation on the National Command Council. The distribution of
    reliable information, essential services and care for our people
    will require a massive coordinated effort from community leaders and
    structures. Volunteers must be trained and organised for safe,
    coordinated, campaigns at street-level and for those living in
    institutions. Middle-class and wealthy communities and organisations
    have an obligation to make resources available to poor and
    working-class communities.
 6. *Community Health Workers must be insourced trained and supported
    and, along with other frontline health and emergency services
    workers, must have access to the resources necessary to safely and
    effectively contain the virus*
    The 70 000 Community Health Workers are the outreach arms of our
    health. If they and other frontline health workers and emergency
    services workers are to provide the community services required
    during this time, they must all have access to reliable information,
    safety and protective gear, and the testing and other resources for
    effective containment of the virus.
 7. *We must identify strategies to calm tensions and divert violence in
    our homes*
    Home-based quarantine will escalate family and relationship
    tensions, and will likely lead to more violence against women,
    children and others most marginalized in our families and
    communities including LGBTI people and foreign nationals. We need to
    identify strategies to calm tensions and divert violence in our
    homes and communities over this time. We need a strong education
    campaign against all forms of violence, especially domestic
    violence. We need to strengthen safe responses from existing
    neighbourhood, regional and national organisations supporting women
    and children. This includes extending access to helplines for
    domestic violence, mental health, easing referral systems to
    shelters, and resourcing shelters to keep them open, functional and
    safe in the time of the virus.
 8. *Communication must be free, open and democratised*
    There must be an immediate distribution of free data to all, so that
    people are able to receive good information, contact loved ones
    during isolation and quarantine, and understand the measures that
    are in place to create safety. Access to the best international
    research should be free and public. There must be daily national
    press conferences from government leaders alongside scientists and
    professionals who can keep all of our people informed about the
    emerging situation.
 9. *The inequalities within our educational services need to be
    carefully considered, and mitigated, when moving to remote learning*

    Data and free website content must be made widely available to
    educational institutions for continued learning. However, there is
    massive inequality of access to resources such as computers,
    electricity, WiFi and learning space, as well difficult home
    situations that disproportionately affect poor and working-class
    learners, students and educators. The move to online learning should
    be made carefully, and as a temporary measure. We should not extend
    the inequalities in the education system by affording remote
    education to the few. Schools and universities should consider their
    collective role as community educators and developers facing an
    unprecedented shared experience. Schools, residences and dormitories
    should be understood as a public resource during this time,
    including for the safe distribution of food and other essential
    services interrupted by school closures.
10. *We must prevent a nationalist, authoritarian and security-focused
    approach in containing the virus*
    We must guard against the easy deployment of military and police to
    create security in our communities. We must also prevent against
    creating scapegoats to blame for the current crisis. Instead we must
    ensure that care and resources are provided for the safety and
    protection of all who live in our country and in our communities.

/How each of us responds to the COVID-19 pandemic will determine who we 
are as a society. The better we respond now, the better we will be after 
the pandemic. We must follow international best practice and the science 
that we have available to us to build an assertive response that works 
for the context of our own history and society. Our response must be 
just, equitable, and redistributive if we are to meet the needs of all 
our people. In times of physical distancing, social solidarity is key./


Endorsers (17/4/20):


	360 Degrees Environmental Movement

	Abanebhongo Persons with Disabilities
	Academics for Free Education

	ActionAid South Africa
	Active Citizens Movement

	Adonis Musati Project
	African Centre for Biodiversity

	African Gender Institute
	African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum
	African Water Commons Collective
	Agang Bokamoso
	AIDS Foundation of South Africa

	AIDS Free Living

	Al-Fitrah Foundation
	Alliance for Rural Democracy
	Alliance Française of Durban
	Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC)

	Ashes to Purpose

	Assembly of the Unemployed
	ASSITEJ South Africa

	Association for Rural Advancement
	Auwal Socio-economic Research Institute

	Bench Marks Foundation

	Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship
	Bertha’s Cape Town

	Black Sash
	Bonteheuwel Development Forum

	Botshabelo Unemployment Movement
	Bright Media
	Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
	CDR Equipping
	Centre for Applied Legal Studies

	Centre for Education Rights and Transformation
	Centre for Faith and Community, University of Pretoria

	Centre For Human Rights
	Centre for Law and Society, UCT
	Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg
	Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation
	Chair for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation (Nelson 
Mandela University)
	Child Maintenance Difficulties in South Africa
	Children's Institute, University of Cape Town
	Civic Action for Public Participation
	College of Public Health Medicine
	Community Chest
	Community Development Foundation, Western Cape
	Community Healing Network
	Connected COTN
	Corruption Watch
	Cultural Connections
	Denis Hurley Centre
	Destined for Heaven Ministries
	Development Action Group
	Development Works
	Documentary Filmmakers Association
	Drama for Change NPO
	DST-NRF Centre of Excellence on Food Security - Secretariat, Food 
Governance Community of Practice
	Dullah Omar Institute
	DVV International
	Eagle Training and Development
	Economic Justice Network of
	Environmental Humanities South
	Environmental Monitoring Group
	Equal Education
	Equality Collective
	Extinction Rebellion South Africa
	Farmers network south africa
	Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa
	Femme Projects, Coloured Mentality
	Fighting Inequality Alliance South Africa
	Fossil Free South Africa
	Foundation for Human Rights
	Fountain for the Thirsty
	Gateway Health Institute
	Gender Equity Unit, University of the Western Cape
	Global hope youth foundation
	Grace Family Church
	Grow Great
	Gun Free South Africa
	Heinrich Böll Foundation Cape Town Office
	Helen Suzman Foundation
	Hlanganisa Institute for Development Southern Africa
	Housing Assembly
	Inclusive and Affirming Ministries
	Initiative for Community Advancement
	Innovation Network for Collaboration in the Children’s Sector
	Institute for Economic Justice
	Institute for Economic Research on Innovation
	Institute for Economic Research on Innovation, Tshwane University of 
Technology .
	Institute for Justice and Reconciliation
	Institute for the Healing of Memories
	International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG)
	Inyanda National Land Movement
	Isandla Institute
	Isibani Law and Therapy Center
	Ithuba Lethu Recycling Cooperative
	Just Associates Southern Africa (JASS)
	Just Share
	Kadesh International
	Keep Left
	Labour Research Service
	LAJJ Resources
	Land Access Movement of South Africa
	Land Network National Engagement Strategy of South Africa
	Lawyers for Human Rights
	Learning in Reach
	LifeLine Northern Cape
	Lighthouse foundation
	Makause Community Development Forum
	Makhanda Black Kollective
	Marikana youth movement
	Masifunde Learner Development
	Masimanyane Women's Rights International
	Medecins Sans Frontières
	Middleburg Environmental Justice Network
	Mining Affected Communities United in Action
	Mining and Environmental Justice Communities' Network of South Africa 
	My Vote Counts
	Nal’ibali Trust
	National Union of Care Workers of SA (NUCWOSA)
	Natural Justice
	Ndifuna Ukwazi
	Neighborhood Empowerment Organization
	Nelson Mandela Foundation
	Networking HIV & AIDS Community of Southern Africa
	New World Foundation
	Nozuko Madokwe
	Observatory Civic Association
	One Voice for All Hawkers
	Open Secrets
	Open Society Foundation South Africa
	Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse
	Own capacity as SA citizen
	Oxfam South Africa
	Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Gauteng
	Parents Families & Friends of the South Africaan Queers
	People Against Apartheid and Fascism (PAAF)
	People4Impact NPC
	People’s Health Movement South Africa
	Phaphama Initiatives NPC
	Philippi Village
	Phuhilsani NPC
	Phuhlisani NPC
	Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group
	Popular Education Programme
	Pride Shelter Trust

	Public Affairs Research Institute
	Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM)
	Public Services International
	Radical Education Network
	Refugee Social Services
	Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI)
	Rehana Khan Parker & Associates
	Right2Protest Project
	Riverlea Covid 19 disaster forum
	Rural Health Advocacy Project
	SA BDS Coalition
	SA Domestic Services and Allied Workers Union
	SA Informal Traders Alliance (SAITA)
	SA Lawyers for Change
	SACBC Justice and Peace Commission
	SADRA Conflict Transformation
	Safety and Violence Initiative, UCT
	Salt River Heritage Society
	Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town
	Senqu gender links
	Seriti Institute
	Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)
	Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition
	Sexual Violence Research Initiative
	Sharp# movement for ecosocialism
	Sisterhood Movement
	Social Change Assistance Trust
	Social Justice Advocacy Campaign
	Social Justice Coalition
	Social Law Project, University of the Western Cape
	Social Surveys Institute
	Society Work and Politics Institute, University of the Witwatersrand
	Solidarity for Free, Decolonised Education
	Sonke Gender Justice
	Sophiatown Community Psychological Services
	South Africa Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union(Sadsawu)
	South Africa Mining Affected Communities
	South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU)
	South African Green Revolutionary Council
	South African Jews for a Free Palestine
	South African Waste Pickers Association (SAWPA)
	Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute
	Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute
	Support Centre for Land Change
	Support Programme for Industrial Innovation
	Surplus People’s Project
	TB Proof
	test test org
	The Altar of Worship Church (PMB)
	The Climate Justice Charter
	The College of Public Health Medicine
	The Commercial, Stevedoring, Agricultural and Allied Workers Union 
	The Cooperative and Policy Alternative Centre
	The GALA Queer Archive
	The Global Interfaith Network For People of All Sexes, Sexual 
Orientations, Gender Identities and Expressions
	The Independent Producers Organisation
	The Institute for Economic Justice
	The Institute for the Healing of Memories
	The Interim People’s Library
	The Leadership Factory
	The Legal Resource Centre
	The Mbegu Platform
	The National Shelter Movement
	The South African Food Sovereignty Campaign
	The Umkhumbane Schools Project
	Therefore Studio
	Treasured Gems Cancer Support
	Treatment Action Campaign
	Triangle Project
	Trust for Community Outreach and Education
	Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education
	Tshwane Leadership Foundation
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  Civil society left to feed thousands of children on Cape Flats

17 April 2020 Text by Steve Kretzmann 
<https://www.groundup.org.za/author/29/>. Photos by Brenton Geach 

    Civil society network feeding more than 1,300 children in Lavender
    Hill and surrounds

Photo of a soup pot with children in a field in the background 

Children sit waiting to be fed on what is known as “the battlefield”, 
where rival gangs often clash in Lavender Hill. Gang violence in the 
area has subsided since a ceasefire was brokered following the shooting 
of five-year-old Valentino Grootetjie in December last year.

On a large open field in Lavender Hill known as ‘the battlefield’, where 
clashes between rival gangs the Mongrels and Junky Funky Kids take 
place, over 300 children sit, spaced one-and-a-half-metres apart to 
reduce the possibility of Covid-19 transmission.

Ranging in age from three years to early teens, the children are waiting 
in the autumnal midday sun for food. As it is Easter Monday, they will 
also receive a chocolate egg. For most of them, it will be the only meal 
they will receive until they return tomorrow.

While the wait for the two 50-litre pots containing rice and stew that 
will be dished into the plastic containers all the children bring with 
them, a police van pulls up and the officer warns organiser Mark 
Nicholson that if the children are still there when police return, he 
will be given a R2,000 fine because his essential services permit has 

Fortunately, the food arrived in the back of a Hyundai van, having been 
cooked by Lavender Hill resident and activist Lucinda Evans, with a 
group of volunteers. The food is distributed and the children disperse 
before the police return to make good their threat. Only a score or so 
adults remain, having waited to see if there are any leftovers to sate 
their own hunger.

The feeding of hundreds of children has occurred daily since the start 
of the national lockdown, with the exception of Easter Sunday when the 
organisers, cooks, and volunteers took time off to relax with their own 

Normally, the children would receive food at school. In an area with 
anemployment rate of only about 40% 
many parents are unable to afford food at the best of times, and under 
the extended lockdown, many households are becoming desperate. 
Households such as those of Kathleen Laurence, who has an 11-year-old 
and 20-year-old daughter living with her. Laurence says the only income 
is a child grant of R440 a month.

“There’s no money,” she says. “Normally I go to shops and I ask people. 
I walk to Grassy Park and ask around but I can’t do that now [under 
lockdown]. We often sleep without food.”

Veronica Fortune is also a single parent, looking after five children 
aged from six to 13. Fortune receives a child grant for three of her 
children but it is not enough to last through the month. Under normal 
circumstances she too would walk surrounding neighbourhoods looking for 
work or handouts. Out of desperation she even tried to do so under 
lockdown, but she said she was beaten by police. (“/Die polisie het al 
vir my geslat omdat ek Grassy Park toe geloop/.”)

“With lockdown, we don’t eat,” she says.

Which is why Nicholson, who is director of the Lavender Hill Football 
Club and overlooks the battleground from the municipal flat he lives in 
with his wife Shireen and their children, is willing to run the risk of 
a fine in order to continue feeding the children in his community.


Lucinda Evans has been cooking meals for 1,300 children in Lavender Hill 
and surrounds from her garage since the start of the national lockdown.

Nicholson is part of a civil society network feeding more than 1,300 
children who gather at sites such as the one he serves; in Which Court, 
Lavender Hill; St. Esther Street in Rondevlei; Magaliesburg Street in 
Hillview; 11A 12th Avenue in Cafda Village; and Elsie Manning Street in 
Cafda Village.

In the centre of this network, receiving little support from local or 
provincial government, is Lucinda Evans, who has also been instrumental 
in liaison and setting up feeding sites in Delft, Kuils River, 
Mitchell’s Plain, and Caledon in the Overberg with other organisations.

Evans is director of Philisaa Abafazi Bethu, a non-profit organisation 
countering gender-based violence, but the prospect of children starving 
under lockdown prompted her to pivot funds and resources in order tomeet 
the need state-sponsored school feeding schemes 
longer meet.

The first, and only, official support received was a gas burner, gas, 
bags of meal and pulses, and two large pots, delivered by Mayor Dan 
Plato on Tuesday.

Since the start of lockdown, Evans has been cooking in her garage from 
7am every day in order to send the food out to the various sites by 
midday. Easter weekend was rough, she said, as a rumour had been doing 
the rounds that she and Nicholson were storing food parcels, and as a 
result there had been a stream of people coming to her house.

Scores of people had also gathered at the gates of nearby Levana Primary 
School, she said, due to a rumour that food parcels were to be dropped 
off there. She has had to put a sign on her front door explaining that 
there are no food parcels in the house.

Additionally, Easter Monday was not the first time Nicholson had been 
accosted by law enforcement while trying to feed desperately hungry 
children. She said on Wednesday, 8 April, the City Metro cops had 
arrived with the intention of breaking up what they had been told was a 
“holiday programme” for school children. She said they had been sent by 
a City official who had seen the children sitting on the field in their 
1.5metre grid from the control centre where CCTV footage from the 
adjacent Hillwood Primary School is processed.

The situation was defused, she said, because it was clear children were 
being fed and necessary social distancing and hygiene precautions were 
being taken.

The organisational funds she’s directed to feeding children will run out 
by 19 April, she says. Thankfully Breadline Africa and Rotary Club 
Newlands are contributing, and theCape Town Together Community Action 
Network (CAN) <https://www.facebook.com/groups/CapeTownTogether/about/> 
from Plumstead, spearheaded by Lutz Manzelmann, is providing food for 
the Lavender Hill initiative under Nicholson.

Although no assistance from the City or Province had yet been provided, 
Evans said she was due to have an urgent meeting with subcouncil 18 
manager Fred Monk and chair Shanen Rossouw.

She said all she wanted from the subcouncil officials was for them to 
speak to churches and schools about running the feeding efforts from 
their facilities, and for access to the City database so old people 
could also be fed.

She said she thought the school lockdown might be extended to 23 June. 
“We need to be ready.”

In the absence of any plan from local ward councillors or other 
officials, she was developing one for her ward, said Evans.

This would include finding premises from which to operate, such as 
church halls or schools, particularly as the rainy season approaches, as 
well as secure storage should food parcels arrive. At the moment all the 
feeding sites are in the open air.

She was expecting a massive increase in the number of children, and 
adults, coming to get food. Already children were walking about a 
kilometre from Overcome informal settlement to get food at Nicholson’s 
site in Lavender Hill, swelling the numbers from about 250 a week ago to 
about 350 now.

“I expect 2,000 children by the week of the 20th,” says Evans.

Calls and WhatsApp messages to Lavender Hill ward 68 Councillor Marita 
Petersen (DA) and subcouncil chair Shanen Rossouw went unanswered.

/UPDATE: Some readers have requested how they can help. Please try the 
Cape Town Together Facebook page: 


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