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‘Forgotten’ NC community starving


‘There are families here who have no food to eat.’

THE “FORGOTTEN” community of Schmidtsdrift, situated 65km from Kimberley, has appealed for assistance after families are reportedly starving at home because they are too afraid to travel to Kimberley to collect their social grants.

A Schmidtsdrift resident, Valencia Kock, said yesterday that the community was also desperately awaiting JoJo tanks from the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) as they currently have to collect water using wheelbarrows.

“There are communal taps but the condition of the area around the taps is terrible. With the rain, there is lots of mud and grass and all sorts of things breeding in the area,” Kock said.

“There are no taps in people’s yards and we have to use wheelbarrows to transport water to our houses.”

She also appealed for social assistance in the form of food parcels for community members. 

“Ninety percent of the community rely on social grants. Many of them are old while others are unemployed and their children’s grants are the only source of income the household receives.”

Kock said that there were no real shops in the area and residents had to pay R100 for a return trip to Kimberley to buy food. “While there are tuck shops here, and we are forced to buy essentials from these shops, community members still have to go into Kimberley or Douglas to collect their social grants.

“They are afraid of the coronavirus, especially the old people, so they don’t want to travel. As a result, there are families here who have no food to eat. Where can we go for food parcels? Are there no institutions that can assist us?” she asked. 

“There have been promises that JoJo tanks will be delivered but nothing has happened here. I think we are the forgotten part of the Northern Cape.”

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) said on Monday that it had already delivered more than 100 water tanks with a capacity of 5-10 kilolitres to vulnerable communities in the Northern Cape. 

A further 391 water tanks are expected to be delivered this week. The need of a total of 659 water tanks was initially identified but the demand is still growing.

A total of 76 tanker trucks are also needed in the Northern Cape and so far only two have been delivered. A further 50 tanker trucks are in transit and are expected to arrive this week in the Province for distribution to various municipalities.”  

The DWS said it had also allocated 500 litres of liquid hand-washing soap to the Northern Cape to ensure that residents of the Province, especially the vulnerable, have both access to water and soap to wash their hands frequently and to sanitise them regularly as a means to protect themselves from the Covid-19 virus. 

According to Kock, however, the residents of Schmidtsdrift have not been supplied with hand-washing soap. 

“Since the outbreak of this virus, there has been no one here at all. Nobody has come to address us or tell us what we must or mustn’t do or to find out if we need assistance. The old people especially are very concerned about what will happen to them.”

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