One of the delivery vehicles from Komati Group outside Letsitele, delivering a shipment of fresh produce to the GTM's "Food bank" initiative.

Tzaneen’s Municipal Manager, Thapelo Matlala, has continued his campaign to alleviate the struggle imposed upon the residents of his municipality during the Covid-19 outbreak by establishing the GTM Food Bank.

During the course of the last two weeks he has been tirelessly pitching the idea of a central storage site for any food and essentials garnered from the business owners and farmers of the area, and has managed to secure and safely house these donations at various drop off points around Tzaneen town. The main drop off area is located at the GTM municipal buildings in Tzaneen where a traffic department garage has been repurposed to this end.

Municipal workers help to offload the shipments of fresh fruit and vegetables from the farms. Photo: Joe Dreyer

When Bulletin visited the site this morning (Friday, 24th of April) there were large stacks of cabbages, butternuts, avocadoes, mielie meel, boxes of fruit juices, grapefruit, and oranges at the store. Komati group was busy delivering another shipment of citrus and avocadoes. The municipality has also received a large supply of mattresses and comforters.

“It has been a remarkable response and sponsors came pouring in. The food received to date will be distributed according to the list supplied by Sassa within the Greater Tzaneen area,” said Matlala. “We cannot thank our farming community enough for the support during this time.”

To circumvent the problems that have been cropping up in areas where there have been reports of people taking advantage of the food parcel schemes, the GTM has partnered with local wholesaler, Premjee’s and devised a unique Food Bank voucher system.

The Greater Tzaneen Municipality have transformed one of the garages into a makeshift storage depot for the fresh produce donated to the cause. Photo: Joe Dreyer

“Initially, Premjee’s came on board and wanted to donate food parcels to people in need, at their stores in Tzaneen and the rural areas. We foresaw that his could cause some problems unless we did not find a way to better control the handouts. That’s when we came up with the voucher system.”

How it works, is Premjee’s have allocated a monetary value equal to that of the food parcels they were donating. These funds they paid into an account. The GTM then produced food vouchers to the value of the parcels which they will distribute to beneficiaries on the SASSA list. The beneficiaries can take the vouchers to any of the Premjee’s stores and exchange them for a food parcel. Each voucher is valued at R350. The program will run for the next three months.



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