Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) this year observed Nelson Mandela International Day 2020 through outreach projects aimed at helping to fight hunger, in line with the global theme of #Each1Feed1.
On Friday TNPA’s Port of East London – in partnership with the Transnet Foundation and Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality – handed over 50 food parcels to families affected by the recent fire in Buffalo City, which saw 40 shacks burnt down and 114 people left homeless and removed to a temporary shelter.
Executive Mayor Pakati, who led the handover alongside East London Port Manager, Sharon Sijako, said, “By virtue of being victims of fire, these communities are most needy and we advised Transnet to target these communities who lost all their belongings in various fires in Buffalo City.”
Sikajo added, “During this 11th year of the global commemoration, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever before for us to take action, inspire change, and make every day a Mandela Day, in order to be of service to others.
“However, the lockdown and regulations to curb the spread of the epidemic have meant that TNPA could not adopt its usual approach of encouraging staff volunteerism at a wide range of beneficiary projects.
“We are grateful to the municipality and the Mayor for recommending this community as a worthy beneficiary.”
With Buffalo City in the grip of bitterly cold weather and in the midst of the COVID-19 storm, Port of East London employees also opened their hearts and reached out by donating food, clothing and blankets to the affected families.
Not having access to food is a huge problem in South Africa. In 2019 there were more than 1.7 million households across South Africa that faced food insecurity and this has only been worsened by COVID-19, with children who would usually be able to depend on a meal at school now often left to go hungry.
Each year TNPA, in partnership with its employees, identifies projects to support for Mandela Day, while acknowledging the volunteer work that employees do in their spare time to make the world a better place.
Past beneficiaries have included various NGOs and community organisations, such as youth centres, schools, children’s and old age homes, palliative care organisations, hospitals, informal settlements and more, where they help with cleaning, cooking, refurbishments and any needs expressed by beneficiaries.
In addition to donations and volunteer work at a range of organisations, Port of East London employees have used Mandela Day to help out alongside representatives of Transnet Group at Qunu Junior Primary School in Mthatha’s OR Tambo Inland District, the first primary school Nelson Mandela himself attended at the age of seven.
It was turned into a modern school with state-of-the-art computer and biology laboratories after his visit there in 1996. The Transnet volunteers painted doors, ablution facilities and classrooms, and helped to clear and recycle as well as repair fencing.