Manzini Mayor Inspects, Officially Reopens Social Centres
Following the relaxation of the Covid-19 partial lockdown, the Municipal Council of Manzini has taken a bold decision to reopen social centres (popularly referred to as soup kitchens) within the City of Manzini – albeit under strict Covid-19 preventative measures.
The eight social centres which are located in various townships of the city and stand as a source of food, at least one meal per day, for over 1,300 less privileged children had been closed way back in March 2020 as a safety measure aimed at protecting the children from contracting the Corona virus.
This effectively means the children have been without this important support for the last five months; in the process exacerbating their state of hunger. Most of these children come from low income families and are either single orphaned, double orphaned or either one or both parents is without a stable source of income. One of the indicators that the Covid-19 pandemic had robbed the children of a source of life and hope is that whenever a donation would come by during the period of closure, the children would cram the social centres hours before the scheduled donation time. Moreover, information from the cooks is that the children would often be seen loitering around the social centres in the hope that, by sheer luck, they might get something to eat. Others, particularly those that come from acutely destitute families, were spotted scavenging for food in town. It is for that reason that the Municipality took the decision to reopen the social centre service under strict Covid-19 safety measures. The Municipality is grateful to the many social partners, including Business Eswatini which came through and rescued the situation by donating 1,000 face masks to be used by the children and cooks. The Honourable Mayor of the City of Manzini, Her Lordship Councillor Jabu Shiba, accompanied by Deputy Mayor Mduduzi Vilane and other Councillors, yesterday conducted an inspection and officially reopened the social centres. The Mayor was happy with the state of readiness of the social centres for re-operationalisation. She emphasised that the Covid-19 safety preventative measures be practiced at all times. The Mayor and Councillors also participated in the distribution of the face masks. For now, only feeding will take place and the other ancillary activities such as pre-schooling remain on hold.
…STRICT COVID-19 SAFETY MEASURES TO BE OBSERVED
The following are some of the safety measures that have been put in place as mitigation against a possible spread of the virus within the social centres;
- The children will dish up in smaller groups to enable social distancing.
- Each social centre has been equipped with a source of running water, soap and alcohol-based hand sanitisers. Hand washing will be a strict requirement at the entry point to the social centres.
- All children and cooks have been provided with face masks and strict instructions given to ensure their use at all times. They have also been trained on how to use and clean the masks.
- A Covid-19 compliance register has been provided for children and everyone coming into the social centre. This will be used for contact tracing purposes in the event of an incident.
- Regular disinfection of the social centres has been scheduled.
- Regular Covid-19 education will be conducted at each social centre.
…A BIG THANK YOU TO AHF, OTHER PARTNERS FOR SUPPORT
The Municipal Council of Manzini would like to express gratitude to the social partners who supported the reopening of the social centres in the form of donation. One of them is Aids HealthCare Foundation (AHF) Global who committed a donation of US$8,000 (E140,000) towards the procurement of food items for a period of two months whilst Business Eswatini came through and provided 1,000 face masks. Other entities came through to support the children in the form of donation of food and other essentials during the period of closure of the social centres. The Municipality would like to recognise and thank the following partners for their support towards the social centres during the Covis-19 period. Council pleads for more support as the social centres continue to be faced with various needs;
- Illa Penboy Foundation
- United Holdings
- Cardo Capital Property Development Consultants
- AJ Mngoma
- Conco Limited
- Mohale Emmanuel Consultancy Services
- National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA)
- Eswatini Parking
- Business Eswatini
- AHF Global
- Ncamiso Mahlalela
- Thabo Dlamini
- Owen Nxumalo
- Make Moyo
- Ms Kunene