Army personnel in full uniform donated food parcels to disadvantaged commuters who live in informal settlements around Wattville near Benoni in Ekurhuleni on the 10th of July 2020. Mbulelo Tetani, Tambo regiment spokesperson Capt said they decided to dig into their not-so-deep pockets to buy struggling family’s food.
“The idea came from the Methodist Church pastors… because most people have lost jobs due to Covid-19, they have nothing and they’re struggling. It makes us feel good as the defence force, the last line of defence, to be able to do something for the community,” said, Tetani. He confirmed that they managed to raise R4,000 to assist 12 families with groceries.
Portia Mlangeni who is a Hawker was part of the beneficiaries who received a parcel from the army at her home. For more than three months, Mlangeni hasn’t been able to make any money as her business as a hawker, her source of income has been negatively hit by lockdown regulations.
She sells snacks, biscuits and loose cigarettes to supplement her grandchildren’s social grant money to ensure they’re well-fed and have warm clothes in winter. “It’s been very difficult, especially without cigarettes… I can’t do much and there are no jobs available due to the coronavirus. I’m happy with what they have done for us because it’s been a struggle. My daughter, who has her own home to take care of, had to also assist me,” said Mlangeni.
The parcels included potatoes, cooking oil, maize meal, canned fish and baked beans among others. The soldiers worked with social workers and the churches to identify these families. Lebogang Nyathi who lives with her pensioner mother, said they have been relying solely on food parcels for two full months as her mother, who is a domestic worker, only returned to work recently.
“I am a student, and my only source of support is my mother whose pension money covers our debts and the little change that remains can’t really do much but we are grateful for what the army people have done by donating food parcels because we are struggling,”