Statement by the Bitou Executive Mayor
Councillor: Peter Lobese
Date and time Issued: 18 April 2020 at 19h00
For Immediate Release
RESPONSE TO “FOOD PARCEL THEFT ALLEGATION” THAT IS CIRCULATING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
The Bitou Municipality have noticed the allegations being levelled against an official of the municipality being involved in irregular activity during the delivery of food parcels between the 10th and 13 April 2020. Although there are no formal complaints laid, the municipality does not take these allegations lightly. Should proof of such alleged irregularities be provided, the municipality will act according the relevant legislation and policies to discipline the implicated official and or officials.
Across the country, there has been a huge outcry in the manner in which food parcels have been issued. In places such as Mitchel’s Plain in the City of Cape Town, the residents resorted to violence protest. We certainly do not want to see such situations in Plettenberg Bay. So serious is the matter of suspicion and allegations of politicization of food delivery that the Garden Route District Command Centre discussed it in a virtual meeting this afternoon at 13h00.
Any person found to be using Covid 2019, a national disaster, for political and corrupt activities can and will face criminal action according to laws of the country. Spreading fake news is also regarded as a criminal act that can lend a person in jail. Should there be proof of any wrongdoing from any Councillor, Official of the Bitou Municipality, disciplinary action will be taken, and those implicated will be dealt with accordingly. It should also be mentioned that the municipality would also take criminal and or civil action against any resident or organization that spread false lies and drag the name of the Bitou Municipality through the mud without proof. A person can be sent to jail for using social media to spread false news.
The Bitou Municipality further encourages those parties that have proof of irregular activity during the delivery of the food parcels over the Easter weekend, to approach the South African Police Services (SAPS) and lay criminal charges against the implicated official or officials. T
We also wish to state that the food 3500 food parcels that were distributed by the Bitou Municipality was from funds made available. We were aware that the 500 food parcels per Ward would never be enough. However, that was the only money available and if there were more money for the project, the Bitou Municipality would definitely have bought more food. There are misleading statements that it was a contribution from another sphere of government. The municipality is still awaiting the Western Cape Government to make available food relief programs of their own as the current intervention from the Department Social Development and SASSA has not yet had the desired outcomes to our communities.
The quantities and size of our food parcels as the Bitou Municipality was determined by the funds that was available and should not be compared to the parcels provided by the Eastern Cape Government. We also want to thank the Garden Route District Municipality for also making a 120 food parcels available for Bitou which was distributed as well.
Government had to respond to the Covid -2019 disaster very quickly and this brought along many crisis management interventions. From this first round of food distribution, we have learnt lessons that should not be repeated should there be future distribution. The Bitou Municipality will continue to engage all sectors to seek food relief for vulnerable residents and we do call on other organs of state and the private sector to assist in this regard.
Enquiries: BITOU COMMUNICATIONS AND CUSTOMER CARE SECTION
Tel: 044 501 3006, Mobile: 076 734 8483, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Communications, Department: Corporate Services, BITOU MUNICIPALITY