Business-people Benefit from Food Aid in Nkayi as Poor Villagers Starve

Aid directed at the most vulnerable in Nkayi is finding itself in the hands of the “haves”.

It has become routine that villagers who are beneficiaries of the Social Welfare and donors’ food support in Nkayi and other districts are asked to pay for transportation of the aid. The cash strapped villagers are demanding that the aid should be free as it is purported to be.

Surprisingly some say they have witnessed “undeserving people such as business people and villagers with valuable property such as cars and cattle being the first to benefit.” Vulnerable groups are left out for not “providing transportation”.

A villager Cosmas Kodzanai speaking at a virtual debate under Nkayi Community Parliament, raised concerns over this, noting it is rampant in ward 29.

“How can someone who owns a house, cars, shops and benefit when we have old people dying because of poverty? Investigate this because it is not fair for people who own shops, houses, cars to benefit under social welfare when people die of hunger. It’s high time we take action about ward 29,” Kodzanai says.

Lovemore Nkomazana, a former Senate candidate, says this has been going on for years. “It’s so sad that when there is a distribution of farming inputs, you will notice only business people are registered, and you get surprised why the business people who are selling the inputs get aid instead of the vulnerable?”

Nkomazana likened social welfare to nongovernmental organisations that visit the communities and leave people divided after only calling for those without cattle to benefit.

A villager and businessman, Mqondisi Ndebele, says there is a serious crisis on social welfare in Nkayi. “Everywhere besides ward 29 people who benefit do not deserve because maize is sold. I have not seen where people get it for free because they are made to pay some money. I went to the Zamazama area and found elderly women not getting the aid because they had no money to pay for transport,” says Ndebele.

“When people pay $150 to get maize, someone without money ends up not getting the maize. I discovered the maize was being sold because when you are required to pay some money—that is buying.”

“The poor are getting nothing, but there are village heads that even get aid first when their subjects are not. I even witnessed people with disabilities not getting the aid,” says Ndebele. Ndebele implicated village heads whom he said are failing to protect the community from this corruption.

South Africa based Nkayi villager Maxwell Masina says the Zanu PF government controls the NGOs from lower structures who discriminate against the villagers in that some have cattle and some have children in South Africa.

Permanent secretary in the ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Simon Masango says he is not aware of the issue and advised The Citizen Bulletin to check with the provincial social welfare office.

However, efforts to talk to the social welfare officials were not successful.

Source: The Citizen Bulletin

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