The health and economic situation in the country remains challenged, the pandemic and government policies to contain the disease affect production levels across all sectors – although a partial and temporary easing of restrictions, along with a good rainy season helped slightly. In the second quarter of this year, people were able to work briefly - until the arrival of the third wave – schools were open and it was almost "business as usual." Now the government has reimposed lockdown measures on June, 29th 2021. For example, shops are only allowed to be open at certain times, a curfew is in place from 6:30 PM to 6 AM and schools had to close again. According to UNICEF, approximately up to four million children under the age of five are to be at serious risk of malnourishment in Zimbabwe and 2.3 million people in urban communities are estimated to be food insecure (Source: Integrated Food Security Phase Classification).
The difficult situation in the country has not spared the vulnerable. They have a high need for medical care and food. We see this in the increasing number of people visiting our two medical drop-in centers. Since the beginning of the year, we have cared for around 3500 people and provided food to over 550 households.
Since 28 June 2021, South Africa has once again been in a restrictive lockdown. To give an example: people are only allowed to leave their place of residence in exceptional cases, otherwise curfew applies. Schools and colleges are closed for contact teaching. The ROKPA Soup Kitchen in Johannesburg can carry on with a special permit. The operation went smoothly for a few weeks, albeit with additional measures such as a greater distance between the waiting people in the queue and more security guards who ensure order when queuing.
The current ongoing violent protests in Johannesburg have also hit our soup kitchen. Last week, the owner of the shop from whom we obtain the vegetables for the soup, was knocked down. The vegetables were stolen. For safety reasons, the team on site has decided not to open the soup kitchen for 2 weeks due to the tense situation in the city and due to Covid. This was not an easy decision to make, as Johannesburg presently experiences the coldest weeks in a long time.
ROKPA's projects in Cape Town and other areas of South Africa have fortunately not been hit by the political unrest and can continue despite the severe lockdown. These include:
- Support for mothers and new-born babies at the Mowbray Maternity Hospital (MMH), Cape Town
- Food distribution in collaboration with UNIMA SA (The South African Association of Puppetry) https://www.facebook.com/groups/PuppetrySA
- Permaculture project in Groot Marico, area in the North West Province of South Africa