Durban – Clothing, blankets and footwear which has been seized by the SA Revenue Service will be donated to flood victims in KwaZulu-Natal.
Sars executive Patrick Moeng explained that Project Sizani (we all help) had entered its second phase.
Moeng said the project, which is a collaboration between Sars, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), business and labour, was a response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of disaster following the devastating April and May floods that claimed the lives of more than 400 people and destroyed over 8 500 homes.
“Some parts of the Eastern Cape, North West and Free State provinces also experienced devastation due to the April flooding,” he said.
Moeng said while the project is aimed at minimising the material impact of the disaster on the affected people, it is also intended to restore the dignity of those who were left almost naked by the disaster. Humanity is what drives this gesture more than anything else.
According to a media statement, Moeng said that the initiative involves the distribution of some of the millions of tons of goods from the clothing, textiles, footwear and leather (CTFL) industries seized by Sars since 2018, which otherwise would have been destroyed.
“During the first phase, which started in June this year, the donation of blankets commenced in KZN, due to the urgent need after the April floods, where hundreds of flood survivors are still living in community halls or shelters,” he said.
He said the second phase comprises the donation of clothing and footwear to flood victims identified in the various district municipalities of KZN, the Eastern Cape and North West. It is a much more intricate process, with due diligence having to be conducted for each item to be donated.
“To date, more than 28 000 blankets had been delivered to specific individuals at approximately 174 sites in KZN. The KZN phase 1 paved the way for the roll-out of the second phase of the project, an even more intricate and tightly controlled process as the footwear and clothing items are wrapped in individual packages for specific individuals in specific shelters before they are handed over for distribution,” Moeng said.
This second phase of the project is under way in KZN after it was piloted at two smaller shelters in Inanda and one in La Mercy, offering a chance to develop and refine the process.
Sars said 25 698 items of clothing have so far been donated to the first 31 of 74 sites in KZN.
“The packing, sorting and distribution to shelters continues to take place as more shipments of seized clothing arrive from Gauteng, courtesy of many shipping lines who extended their hand of goodwill to assist in transporting the containers of seized items to different parts of the country where the need has been identified,” Moeng said.
The project is earmarked to be concluded at the end of November with the North West and Eastern Cape following in the footsteps of KZN.
Meong said a governance task team comprising members of Sars, the DTIC, organised labour and the CTFL industry is responsible for the execution of the project, though other role players that play an instrumental part in the execution of the project are the National Disaster Management Committee, the Department of Social Development and the offices of the various premiers in the affected provinces.
He said business and labour have played an integral part in monitoring the process and to ensure that local business is not harmed.