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KwaZulu-Natal department of social development has spent the past week implementing the resolutions of the social cluster committee to intervene in the plight of vulnerable groups following the countrywide lockdown…

The department says in a statement that it has been travelling the length and breadth of the province to assess compliance with the national lockdown protocols and ensure that our communities adhere to social distancing and practising safe hygiene.

Equally, a number of items were procured during the national lockdown to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and its after-shocks. The team was established to deal with the necessities during this time and to ensure that precautionary measures are put in place.

The department said it did not go out on tender in view of Covid-19 being declared a disaster and the procurement was an emergency, in line with national Treasury regulations.

A quantity of 48,000 blankets, sanitisers, food and other hygiene items were needed. The department said it sourced all the items from small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), whose names it took from the national treasury central database and which had capacity to deliver the items.

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All the mentioned items are distributed to different districts to ensure the safety of people, vulnerable groups in particular. People living on the streets were removed and taken to temporary shelters to ensure their safety from coronavirus, it said.

“It’s unfortunate that some individuals opted to spread lies about the department’s interventions to protect the vulnerable groups,” the statement said.

“The department procured blankets to the value of R22 million and of that amount R16,437,000 blankets have been delivered thus far, while R6,000,000 of the order remain outstanding.

“It must be noted that as part of the social relief of distress programme and services to older persons and disabled, the department has always procured blankets and placing a bigger order this time around will also assist in other programmes in the future.”

The department said that it was irresponsible of anyone to link these purchases to corruption. “We are of the view that the blankets purchased were the necessary provision for the homeless taken into shelters,” it said, adding that any items that remained would be use in future interventions, post Covid-19.

The department said it would disburse the blankets as follows:

  • Distribution of the blankets to the homeless at homeless shelters that are established in all District Municipalities and the eThekwini Metro during the Covid-19 lockdown
  • Distribution during disasters
  • Distribution to the indigent persons that are identified and reported to social workers for intervention
  • Distribution to distressed families.

The department said that procurement of blankets was a standing programme, in which they were distributed to vulnerable people during community outreach programmes.

Author: ANA Newswire