City of Cape Town executive mayor, Dan Plato, visited the Helderberg last Thursday, to thank community organisations for the work they are doing in feeding the hungry during lockdown.
The visit started at Vergelegen wine estate in Somerset West, which produces 200 hot meals every day at its restaurants, Stables and Camphors, for distribution to the needy in the Helderberg Basin.
“I’d like to thank the councillors for organising this visit through my office,” Mr Plato said.
“I also want to thank the management team at Vergelegen for their generosity, and also the other community organisations involved in this project. This is a dramatic effort with many people involved.”
Somerset West Rotary club president, Eppie McFarlane, thanked Mr Plato for visiting, saying: “There is just so much need out there in the community, and this is an opportunity for everyone to work together.”
Mr Plato said: “I have met some of your Rotary people in town, so I also wants to use this opportunity to say to Rotary thank you so very much.
“You are doing in the disadvantaged communities absolutely remarkable work, so I’m not surprised to see you here, because that is just what you are and how you are, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Mr Plato added: “I also want to thank the business fraternity. You know, business people, farmers, all over Cape Town, all over the Western Cape, the Philippi farmers, have donated truckloads of fruit and vegetables for the soup kitchens.
“The other day we had a shortage of ingredients for some of our soup kitchens on the Cape Flats.
“I phoned Epping market and asked if they had any redundant vegetables and an hour later I received a call back to say ‘we don’t have transport, just send a truck’, so I sent bakkies to the market to go and fetch the vegetables. It’s very much a joint operation.
“From the City of Cape Town side, we are now busy capacitating soup kitchens,” he said.
“We have reached the 150 out of 200 mark, providing soup kitchens with three-plate burner stoves, gas bottles, pots, and ingredients. It has cost us millions of rand in taxpayers money, but we have no choice.”
On the matter of healthcare infrastructure, Mr Plato said: “In the Western Cape, we have some of the best health facilities.
“No one wanted to believe us, but it is there. I am also aware of what we’ve done with the (Cape Town International) Convention Centre, 800 beds in the convention centre and there are just over 200 patients down there. and the convention centre is becoming also part of an important care facility.”
Turning to the impact of the pandemic in the Cape Metropole, Mr Plato said: “We mustn’t underestimate the threat of the virus. It’s killing people.
“Now we need to contain the virus, but we will not really be able to stop it. Many people are without a job sitting at home and across all racial groups, and my office is inundated with calls to deliver food parcels, so I’m really grateful to you all for the work that you are doing in the community.”
Mr Plato then visited the kitchen at Stables Restaurant, where executive chef, Michael Bridgeman, explained the food preparation and packaging process.
Upon his departure, Mr Plato said that he planned to return to the Helderberg in order to engage with the community organisations involved in food relief distribution to the needy.