South Africa has approximately 58 million people living in 17 million households. About 1000 households are added to this number every day Close to 7 million people fall into the category of the middle class and above. That means that over 50 million people are living in households below the level needed to support a middle-class lifestyle and most of the 50 million people are likely to rely on public transport and public health care with very little or no savings to manage through this emergency. The most vulnerable people living in poverty who survive on a day to day basis from hand to mouth, regularly run out of food before the end of the month.

A hallmark of living in this kind of household is a dependence on social grant income and a food shortage by the third week of the month. In addition, most households who live in poverty, live at least one taxi ride away from the closest supermarket and pay for extra seats on the taxi if purchasing more than a few bags of groceries.

In short, the majority of our community’s live in desperate poverty and the Covid-19 LockDown is set to multiply the misery experienced by so many South Africans. As MACUA/WAMUA we have undertaken to use our branch network to run soup kitchens to support the most vulnerable in our communities along the following lines: 1. Each Branch will undertake a process of social mapping that will identify the most vulnerable who are in need of support. 2. To Provide food, emotional support and assistance care to the vulnerable identified. 3. To use the food distribution to inform about safe practises and social distancing. We will also ensure that our volunteers are fully aware of the protective measures that they need to take, and we will monitor activities and outcomes through our regular reporting structures, WhatsApp groups and online meetings. Volunteers will wear distinctive clothing and we have provided permits to all volunteers as required by the Regulations.

We currently have over 20 branches of which 11 are actively supporting the most vulnerable during this time of physical distance and social solidarity due to limited funding to support more areas. Our food distribution and soup kitchens will provide soup kitchens at least twice a week for the next 3 months but we are currently inundated with communities who fear the worst during this period and who have asked MACUA to assist. For further information please contact: Christopher.Rutledge – MACUA WAMUA Advice Office Director Meshack Mbangula – National Coordinator of MACUA: 074 9775 588 Nester Ndebele – National Convenor of WAMUA: 083 269 5705 Editors’ notes ABOUT MACUA Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA) is a coordinating body representing and advancing the rights and interests of mine-affected communities across eight provinces of South Africa. The network is made up of 50 community organisations and calls for communities to be granted a greater say in issues that affect their human rights and which they believe is denied to them in current regulations governing the mining sector.

ABOUT WAMUA Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA) is an official national platform formed within MACUA with the purpose of advancing the rights and interests of women in mining-affected communities. WAMUA aims to advance and support women in mining-affected communities to strengthen their participation in community decision-making processes and influencing local, provincial and national policy and legislative process in the mining sector.