The Cash Based Transfer (CBT) project is complementing the national effort in cushioning the socio-economic impacts stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, just over 18 605 households have benefited from the project since October last year.
The project is funded by the Kirsh Foundation to the tune of E72 million and administered by National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA). The objective is to assist the vulnerable populace in the area of food security due to Covid-19 effects. The cash is distributed in six phases, approximately E12million per disbursement.
Through the project, Siphiwe Mamba (62) from Mconcwane-Lubulini in Lubombo region, has been afforded much needed sustenance in a time of dire need for her family. Through the E700 payouts she has received in five cycles, she has managed to always secure basic food items like mealie-meal, cooking oil and beans to feed her family of five, which includes 2 grandchildren. The remainder of the money is used to purchase candles and matches. True to her words, when Siphiwe cashed out her latest payment, she purchased a 25kg bag of mealie-meal. It will last the family for about four weeks. She pointed out; “It’s a struggle to put food on the table, and so the CBT money could not have come at a better time. We are able to survive as a family.”
Mkhulu Elmon Tsabedze of Mvakwelitje, Mbabane West Inkhundla, shared similar sentiments on the significance of CBT payments. The 83-year-old civil servant retiree is a member of a family of six that he needs to provide for. Given the high cost of food these days, Mkhulu Elmon said it made a positive impact in his household. “Food has become very expensive, so we try and economize it so that it lasts up to three weeks.”
Meanwhile, Samuel Shabangu of Gilgal, Lubombo region, and his wife, both pensioners, look after a family of seven, comprising mostly of grandchildren. Samuel (68) said though the payout was not monthly, it proved to be invaluable each time.
With the recent payout, the Shabangus secured bags of rice and mealie-meal, beans and vegetables with the change. This will sustain them for 2 weeks. Samuel is a retired building contractor, but occasionally takes up piece-jobs in the community.
Covid-19, Cyclone Eloise and illness are some of the hardships John Mangaliso Mahlalela and his wife Rose, have survived while living in their stick and mud house deep in the community of Mangwaneni, Mbabane West.
But with old age catching up on them, life has become more challenging for the couple who only have one child, who is married and lives elsewhere. Being a beneficiary of the CBT project, John said it has given them a chance to breathe, more-so because they were no longer consistent in eking out a living through making and selling brooms. The covid-19 extended lockdowns in the last two years made life difficult.
“I was in hospital for a while to recover from an operation, and I’m still weak. I can no-longer do a bit of gardening for vegetables to sustain us. So the E700 is critical for our survival,” he explained.
Mahlalela said they normally spend the money on food staples like mealie-meal and beans, and also paying up debts for food bought on credit or money borrowed to buy food. The food supplies sometimes last up to a month.