The United Democratic Movement Women’s Organisation (UDEMWO) is deeply perturbed by how life is turning out for many South Africans, especially women, as we daily hear of large numbers of retrenchments, due to the Covid-19 lockdown. This is hitting very hard in the cases of sole family-breadwinners.
It was recently reported that there is a spike in child abandonment, which is attributed to the desperate choices of parents who are in the throes of financial hardship as the country experiences unimpeded job losses. According to Premier David Makhura, Gauteng, on its own, may lose about two million jobs, which means that child abandonment will likely increase.
As much as it is good that abused women and children can contact the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre for assistance, children could be far more vulnerable as they have less resources, emotionally and physically, to make that life-saving call.
UDEMWO is also worried that the government departments, which are supposed to look after South Africa’s most vulnerable, are failing them dismally. The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is the worst of them all, with shoddy service and poor communication around processes and forms.
In addition, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu seems to not have her facts straight as she recently appealed for the distribution of food-parcels to not be politicised, yet this is exactly what the ruling party is being accused of lately, with evidence of this floating all over social media.
There is something very wrong with this entire picture, as government seems to not realise how its inefficient systems are negatively affecting the poorest of the poor, who are fighting for their very existence. Government is not providing effective leadership and services where this is concerned.
Ms Thandi Nontenja
UDEMWO Secretary General