Sipamandla Mpikeleli

The South African Sugar Association (SASA) has joined hands with the national Department of Social Department (DSD) to alleviate the plight of the poor during this devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

Above from Left: SASA Rural Development and CSI Manager Sipamandla Mpikeleli and Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.

For the current season (2020/2021 financial year), SASA entered into a partnership with DSD to supply 14 tons of sugar packaged in just over 3000 bags of 5kgs together with various other food producers and retailers. SASA indicated to DSD that the department should prioritise distributing food donations to the NPOs that SASA has worked with over the years in its Sugar Donations Programme (SDP). The sugar industry’s SDP sees organisations within the sugarcane growing communities receive a sugar donation on a yearly basis. Numerous community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, crèches and faith-based organisations benefit from the programme. These organisations provide meals to children, people with disabilities, the elderly and other vulnerable groups within their communities.

DSD has been mandated by government to coordinate the food donations and distributions under the COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fund to the poor and vulnerable adversely affected by the pandemic. DSD received food donations from various civil society and corporates. SASA was requested to assist with sugar donations to complement the food basket. DSD has Provincial Food Distribution Centres across the country that can handle the distribution of sugar and account for its distribution to all intended beneficiaries. The purpose of this coordination mechanism is to ensure that donated foods are delivered in an effective manner, without causing duplication and confusion at community level, and to reach as many beneficiaries as possible.

As a result of this partnership, On 24 July 2020, DSD invited a few donors including SASA to the symbolic handover of the food donations in commemoration of the National Mandela Month as part of the ongoing efforts to fight poverty and hunger in South Africa held at the Gauteng Province Food Bank. The event was hosted by the Minister of the Department of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, together with the MEC of Social Development for the Gauteng province, Thembeni Mhlongo.

Sipamandla Mpikeleli is Rural Development and CSI Manager at SASA