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Guest contributor

I’d like to share with you our experience yesterday when trying to distribute food hampers to residents of Alexandra township (north-east of Johannesburg). In total 3 000 food parcels and bread were distributed.

Distribution took place from the offices of the Marlboro/Sandton drivers licence testing centre (DLTC). Due to regulations only 50 people were allowed to gather so bakkies were loaded individually with 50 parcels at a time and taken into Alex.

The first 2 000 parcels went off fairly ok. Councillors then got involved and politics took over. We were told that ANC and EFF officials were only giving parcels to their supporters. Apparently the day before members of the DA stole hampers from the Department of Social Development. Also people were being greedy and collecting more than once whilst others were not getting food at all.

My colleague (a resident of the township) was with me as he’s been having many people asking him for food parcels. He needed about 200 but only got 50. When we loaded the bakkie for him and we were leaving the DLTC to take it to distribute, a mob tried to attack and hijack us. Fortunately we got away after almost bumping people over. We left the area and my colleague was able to distribute the hampers.

Upon returning to Marlboro we saw the metro police rushing from a roadblock they were conducting and so I let them pass me. As we followed them we saw the mob who were waiting there for us. They barricaded the road with rocks, trees and concrete slabs! We were fortunate the metro police and defence force members were in front of us – the mob dispersed and ran into the shacks close by.

We helped the police remove the barricade while the SANDF members went into the settlement and tried to restore calm. This helped for about 10 minutes. People returned from their homes and came to stone us. The SANDF started shouting at them and called for reinforcements. We then were told to leave the scene as the barricade was cleared up.

It was a very shocking experience for me as they allowed children to be part of the mob. The attempted attack on me and my colleague was coordinated and planned and I’m so grateful that we managed to get away and the food hampers got to their intended recipients.