Swaziland: Only Four in Ten Receive Food Aid in Swaziland Govt Coronavirus Scheme, a Month After Deadline

Fewer than four in ten of the 301,000 people promised food aid by the Swaziland (eSwatini) Government during the present coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have received it.

Figures announced by Swazi Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini on Friday (5 June 2020) showed only 113,273 people had received aid. He had previously promised that all 301,762 people across the kingdom deemed in need would get it by 6 May.

He said people in 29 tinkhundla (local authority districts) had received cash to buy food through the government scheme. There are a total of 59 tinkhundla in Swaziland.

In a media statement Dlamini claimed 'the food assistance programme is going according to plan'.

He said the scheme would be completed next week. Not all people who registered to get relief received it.

The plan is to spend about E270 million (US$14 million) on the scheme. It was set up following reports from across the kingdom that people were close to death.

Swaziland has been in a partial lockdown since 27 March and tens of thousands of people have been thrown out of work.

The plan was originally rejected by members of the House of Assembly who preferred that food, rather than cash, be distributed. They feared money would not be spent on food.

In his statement Dlamini said, 'Government would like to request the cash and food beneficiaries to be responsible, knowing that government and donors alike have had to forego other planned activities to ensure that the assistance is made available to them.'

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