The SA Muslim Covid-19 response task team (SAMTT) on Saturday called on government to make a once-off special coronavirus (Covid-19) grant available to all social support grant recipients.
The Muslim community of South Africa – represented by numerous theological, civil society, and community organisations – had to date spent a cumulative R55 million on relief efforts to support vulnerable citizens during the Covid-19 lockdown, the SAMTT said in a statement on Saturday.
“The SAMTT wishes to express its sincere appreciation and gratitude to the various faith-based, humanitarian, community-based, and civil society organisations who have been working tirelessly on the frontline to support provincial and local government authorities to assist families in need,” the task team said in a statement.
Up to the week ending Friday, April 17, more than one million South Africans had benefited from various aid distributions undertaken by partner organisations from the SAMTT. One such was the Operation SA and the South African National Zakah Fund (Sanzaf) R4.9 million in aid distributed in partnership with the Gauteng department of social development.
The Sandton Islamic Association and the Fordsburg Muslim Youth Organisation undertook another important collaborative project under the banner of MealSA, which brought together a host of organisations to purchase and distribute 100,000 12.5kg maize meal bags.
The project ensured that close to one million meals were provided to vulnerable communities across South Africa. Organisations supporting this initiative included the World Memon Organisation, Awqaf SA, Caring Women’s Forum, Al-Imdaad Foundation, and many others, including several smaller community-based organisations.
The distributions included food hampers, soup kitchens, cooked meals, hygiene packs, medical supplies, building supplies, elders packs, educational materials, blankets, clothing, and water.
The Share-the-Care one million free fabric facemask campaign was another significant and “impactful” collaborative project between the Al-Kaaf Human Rights Centre, Awqaf SA, the Black Business Council, the Community Chest, and other partners. Five-hundred-thousand masks would be donated to government and the remaining 500,000 would be distributed to various communities across South Africa by relief organisations. A total of 200,000 masks had been delivered to date.
The Willowton Oil Group had also extended a helping hand to distressed SMME’s by making available R100 million for SMME loans; R85 million would be contributed by the Willowton Oil Group, R10 million by Al Baraka Bank, and R5 million by the South African Charitable Foundation. The fund and project was administered by Al Baraka Bank and a team of business experts, the statement said.
“This past week has seen an increase in frustration within vulnerable communities, where the economic effects of the lockdown has taken its toll. Some communities in the Western Cape have resorted to looting of shops in what appears to be desperate attempts to feed their families.
“While Muslim humanitarian and civil society organisations have been working around the clock to respond to these urgent cries for help, the need continues to grow by the second. As a society, we have a moral obligation to respond as a matter of urgency. We call upon the national government to make a once off special Covid-19 grant available to all support grant recipients.
“As South Africans, we are now in our fourth week of this national lockdown. The need is now greater than ever to remain calm, respect the call to stay home, and practice social distancing. We also need to work swiftly to find sustainable solutions to assist those living in abject poverty, and who face an uncertain future,” the statement said.