STATEMENT BY EXECUTIVE MAYOR GESIE VAN DEVENTER
During this challenging time of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent national lockdown, our poor communities have been particularly hard hit.
As a caring local government, we are making every effort to provide support to our residents in need within our legal government framework. Out of this, #StellenboschUnite was born. It is a collaborative aid action purposed to provide social support to vulnerable community members during the COVID-19 pandemic and brings together Stellenbosch Municipality, Stellenbosch University, Visit Stellenbosch (civil society), Stellenbosch Civil Advocacy Network (representing the non-profit sector) and the Greater Stellenbosch Development Trust (administrators). To date, this initiative was largely funded by private donors, which we are extremely grateful for.
In order to better assist our vulnerable communities, Stellenbosch Municipality will be making available R100 000.00 to Stellenbosch Unite on a monthly basis for three months, starting at the end of April 2020. The funds will be drawn from Grant-In-Aid funding in terms of our Grant-In-Aid Policy. The policy stipulates that grants be limited to R40 000 per organisation per annum. As we are dealing with a unique global pandemic that is impacting on the lives and livelihoods of many of our residents, this stipulation was amended in terms of the emergency powers vested in the Executive Mayor for a one-off increase in this amount.
Further to this, additional funding of R900 000.00 was sourced from the Provincial Government. This will also be allocated towards Stellenbosch Unite over the next six months.
This is in an effort to aid and accelerate food distribution to those in dire need across our entire region. We will also be rendering in-kind services to Stellenbosch Unite. We have already made premises available as a collection and distribution point and make staff, drivers and vehicles available if and when necessary.
As a first priority, Stellenbosch Unite supplies weekly food packages to identified vulnerable families. We will start mobilising to be in a position to offer further aid that might be needed if the pandemic worsens. This is an unprecedented situation requiring readiness and responsiveness. It is impossible for us to do this without the much needed aid and assistance of our community. We are calling on all of Stellenbosch to unite and to help us to ensure that no one in our towns have to face hunger and starvation.
A basic provision food parcel for a family of four people will be supplied to a minimum of 2 500 households per week. We require at least R250 000 per week to fund these efforts.
Most of the NGOs involved in this initiative funds food distribution via donations received from their private donors and funders. The Stellenbosch Civil Advocacy Network (SCAN) distributes food only to existing vulnerable beneficiaries of its member organisations in the NGO sector. These approximate 2 500 vulnerable families were supported by the NGO’s prior to Covid-19, and now also receive food support funded by the NGO sector themselves, SCAN and Stellenbosch Unite. When the Covid-19 pandemic started, Stellenbosch Unite came alongside SCAN to provide food relief to those who lost their income directly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
All the information about how you can get involved and how you can register for support is on the Stellenbosch Unite website: www.stellenboschunite.org
Please note that councillors are not allowed to distribute food parcels. Councillors are however allowed to submit names for food parcels, which data will then be verified by Stellenbosch Unite. The Municipality will continuously review our assistance and support of Stellenbosch Unite as the situation progresses and assist as best we can.
As a community, it is our duty to come together and help those less fortunate. Our hope is that this effort will bring our entire community together and create a more cohesive, caring community that will inspire us beyond the national lockdown.