Pretoria – Government has come to the aid of 4 021 families living in De Doorns in the Western Cape, whose bread winners are mostly seasonal farm workers.
The assistance being provided includes the supply of seed and seedlings for family gardens
and funding for the establishment of community-based organisations and cooperatives, among others.
The people of De Doorns are mostly unemployed and find seasonal employment in the area’s farming sector only during September and April, leaving them without income for the remainder of the year.
Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, who held a community imbizo in De Doorns on Sunday, announced that SASSA had rolled out an extensive social relief of distress programme aimed at providing food and other necessities, such as school uniforms for children from struggling families.
She said the National Development Agency (NDA) has provided grant funding of R1 083 160 to support 11 non-centre based Early Childhood Development (ECD) playgroups.
Minister Dlamini’s visit to De Doorns was part of Project Mikondzo, a service delivery initiative aimed at expanding the reach of social services in the poorest communities of the country, as identified by Cabinet.
Investment proving worthwhile
The department said this investment was already proving worthwhile, with 975 children now attending ECD centres in the area and 789 of them benefiting from the government’s ECD subsidy.
In October 2013, the Minister visited the area, where she found that children in De Doorns attend ECD centres only during the part of the year when their parents are employed and thereafter pulled out because of their parents’ inability to pay for the service.
The NDA has also helped to establish a sewing cooperative of nine members through funding to the value of R363 661.
“The funds have been used for the procurement of sewing machines, ironing boards, a blind stitch machine, a lockstitch machine as well as other essential equipment,” Minister Dlamini explained.
Four other De Doorn cooperatives have also benefited from the NDA’s capacity building programme.
Other interventions that have been rolled out in the area include the establishment of a community nutritional and development centre for older persons, which is located at an older persons’ multipurpose centre.
A winter feeding project, which targets unemployed seasonal farm workers, was also launched in July. It serves meals to about 200 people per day, from Monday to Friday.
A youth development initiative, which was established has resulted in young people accessing job opportunities through a workforce recruitment programme and the extended public works programme. – SAnews.gov.za