Eastern Cape Fighting Poverty!

Eastern Cape MEC for Social Development, Siphokazi Mani-Lusithi, has recently announced the provincial government’s programmes aimed at eradicating poverty to 7.7% by 2030 in pursuit of the goals of the Provincial Development Plan. In pursuit of Section 27 of the Constitution, which grants everyone a right of access to health care, food and social security the Province of the Eastern Cape has developed a Provincial Integrated Anti-Poverty Strategy (PIAPS) to accelerate integrated and coordinated service delivery. The province faces persistent high levels of poverty, characterised by increased households experiencing severe deprivations and unmet basic human needs.
This situation has been further aggravated by the emergence and the spread of the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
According to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) the Eastern Cape Province has an estimated population of 6.7 million people and 1.8 million households. ‘’Out of the 1.8 million households in the Province, 464 838 of households, which is 25.4% of all households in the Province experience food insecurity, as they run out of money to buy food’’, explained Mani-Lusithi. In 2012, the Provincial Government adopted and later reviewed a Provincial Integrated Anti-Poverty Strategy (PIAPS), which is pro-poor, multi-sectoral and developmental in approach to poverty alleviation.
Amid Covid-19, the Department for Social Development together with private donors distributed a total of 44 523-food parcels to destitute households from a budget of R50 million. The Department has set aside a further R78 million to provide food parcels to poor households.
Social Development has also brought online an additional 33 Community Nutrition & Development Centres (CNDCs) benefiting more than 6000 people annually, while R80 million has been earmarked over 5-years to support CNDCs, with 165 cooking jobs created through the plan.
The distress relief strategy also recognises that investment in human capital as a key pillar and further adopted the Early Childhood Development (ECD) as a key intervention.
ECD link seeks to intervene and reverse the effects of early deprivation and maximise the development of children’s potential at an early phase, which can further contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty.
As part of promoting food security, the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development has implemented Early Childhood Development programmes that benefited more than 150 000 children since 2015/16 Financial Cycle.
In addition to stimulation, ECD Centres provide regular meals to all children who attend, while Social Development has spent approximately R800 million on ECD.
A portion of this went into creating jobs for more than 15 000 ECD practitioners in the province.