Through a partnership with the Red Cross Society, Tongaat Hulett has invested R375 000 towards the establishment of two food security initiatives in KwaZulu-Natal. The objective of the initiative is to ensure that communities and the volunteers build internal systems that would cushion them against any form of risk or environmental shocks including COVID-19.
The first food security project is based at Macekane at Empangeni. The company in partnership with the Red Cross will assist with the provision of the much need equipment for the project. The second project is based at Obanjeni and it has been established mainly by the Red Cross volunteers. This project has been allocated R252 000 which will be utilised towards the initiation of the project.
The COVID-19 pandemic remains a health and humanitarian crisis that has threatened the food security of many households in the communities where the company operates. People in the majority of the impoverished communities that were already experiencing food insecurity and hunger are now at a breaking point. To provide short-term relief, on World Red Cross Day, volunteers prepared lunch for the Shewula residents in Tongaat, who did not know where their next meal would come from. Nazoke Solutions donated all the food suppliers. Approximately 100 people including children and adults were fed by the volunteers.
The Red Cross volunteers have played an invaluable role since South Africa first went on lockdown in March 2020. The volunteers have ensured that indigent households were identified in the various municipalities and coordinated intervention efforts between government, communities and private sector organisations. They also ensured that there was no duplication of effort.
To commemorate World Red Cross Day on Saturday 8 May 2021, Tongaat Hulett also partnered with the KZN Red Cross Society to support two indigent households in the Magwaveni area of Tongaat.
The first household had three family members including an elderly woman who was the head of the household and supporting the family using her state pension. The second household had nine family members including an elderly woman who was also the head of the household and supporting the family. Both the Red Cross Society members and Tongaat Hulett representatives donated non-perishable food items to the two families.
Through Tongaat Hulett’s partnership with the Red Cross, a total of 3 000 food parcels, to the value of R1.3 million, were distributed in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Cape Town in 2020. During the distribution of the food parcels, the Red Cross representatives facilitated engagements between the community leadership, Tongaat Hulett and government. These engagements assisted with the identification of the most vulnerable households in the targeted provinces and communities. The Red Cross management also ensured that sufficient volunteers were deployed to support Tongaat Hulett during the distribution days.
The partnership between Tongaat Hulett and the Red Cross is based on mutually aligned goals. The Red Cross’ main goal is to create an enabling environment where all people are treated with hospitality, dignity and humanity.
“Tongaat Hulett socio-economic development (SED) programme’s goal is to improve people’s social and economic wellbeing. This means facilitating the strategic distribution of resources to promote human dignity and improved quality of life,” said Nkonzo Mhlongo, Tongaat Hulett Sugar SA’s Corporate Affairs Executive.
“Our mission as the South African Red Cross Society is to render services to prevent and alleviate human suffering and to foster human dignity in all communities by addressing people’s basic needs in accordance with the fundamental principles of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Movement,” said Mrs Twala from the KZN Red Cross office.
It is no wonder that these 2 organisations continuously partner on various initiatives designed to promote meaningful development and improved livelihoods for the indigent individuals and communities.
The first Red Cross Day was celebrated on 8 May 1948. This date was chosen in honour of the founder of the movement Henry Dunant who was born on 8 May 1828. The official title of the day has changed overtime and became World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day in 1984. It is estimated that one in 636 people in the world are Red Cross Volunteers.