BACKGROUND : The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has subjected the African urban population into abject poverty. Local government initiatives, such as the City of Johannesburg’s (CoJ) Expanded Social Package (ESP) ‘Siyasizana’ [we help each other], have been established to enhance food security amongst the city’s most vulnerable based on their level of income.
AIM : This article analysed the extent to which the ESP was effective in addressing food insecurity in the wake of COVID-19.
SETTING : This research was descriptive and explanatory in nature that played an important role in obtaining an in-depth interpretation of the challenges of the implementation of ESP in mitigating food insecurity in the CoJ.
METHODS : This article utilised a qualitative case study design with the aid of existing literature, municipal documents and authoritative internet sources in order to analyse the extent to which the ESP is effective in addressing food insecurity in the wake of COVID-19.
RESULTS : This article found out that the ESP did not expressly address the COVID-19-induced food insecurity because of numerous challenges, namely awareness, stigmatisation, qualification and hidden costs.
CONCLUSION : The CoJ should bring in private players to finance the programme as COVID-19 has increased the number of beneficiaries, relax the requirement for in-person application to allow for online registration, increase the ESP poverty threshold of R6100 to cater for those on the border of poverty and diversify its means testing to include other criteria such as Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), which will provide much needed relief to those who might have lost income.