Cape High Court rules minister of social development cannot prevent distribution of food

CAPE TOWN – The Cape High Court ruled on Tuesday 23rd June that the national department of social development (DSD) or the Police are not entitled to prevent the distribution of food and the free assistance of the hungry by soup kitchens during the COVID-19 national lockdown.

The 1000 Women Trust, a South African Non-governmental Organization (NGO), and the Democratic Alliance approached the Cape High Court in its case against Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, and Bheki Cele, Minister of the Police. The case served in front of judge Owen Rogers on Tuesday.

In May, the 1000 Women Trust and the DA approached the High Court after the department of social development announced a proposed ban on soup kitchens and circulated draft directives that prevented the distribution of food by NGOS. A significant number of food relief organizations were told by the police or by officials of the DSD to stop distributing food.

On 22nd May the Cape High Court ruled that the government cannot prevent the distribution of food during the COVID-19-pandemic after the high court ruled in favor of the right to freely assist the hungry, at least for a few more weeks pending another court case, which occurred on Tuesday 23rd June.

Judge Rogers has confirmed the ruling made on 22th May. He ordered the minister of social development to pay the applicants’ costs, including the costs that stood over from 22nd May 2020.

In a petition to the UN Women that started on 15th May, the 1000 Women Trust demanded that the DSD keep their hands off the soup kitchens of the community and the non-profit sector and stop controlling, managing and determining who can run a soup kitchen.

Said Tina Thiart, a founding member of 1000 Women Trust: “We are delighted with the outcome of the proceedings. This once again confirms the right to food and the right to share our food. Thank you to all the soup kitchens (community groups) who kept on mobilizing resources and who provided thousands of meals to communities.

“My call to action is to all communities in South Africa to support the NGOs’ soup kitchens and to also support 1000 Women.”


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