Disadvantaged families in Chitungwiza, a town 26km south-east of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, are distraught after the local council closed the kitchen of a well-wisher who had been feeding them since the beginning of the country’s Covid-19 lockdown.
Samantha Murozoki provided daily meals to the families from her personal resources.
However, council said “her operations were a public health hazard”.
A number of beneficiaries were being turned away when ZTN visited the kitchen on Thursday.
A beneficiary, Heldah Mutani, said, “I am an informal trader and I have not been earning income since the lockdown began. The kitchen is where I would get meals.”
Mother-of-three Gracious Mango was equally distraught.
“Samantha has been literally feeding my family. Now, many of us are going to struggle.”
Acting Chitungwiza Town Clerk Dr Tonderai Kasu said the kitchen was operating illegally.
“…the municipality had the responsibility to take immediate action on this issue as the operations at the site, and the manner in which they were being conducted were a public health hazard…
“An inspection was done by our health department which revealed that her premises were unsuitable and fell short of the standards with respect to the requirements for municipal licensing of premises where such work is being carried out.”
Murozoki declined commenting.
She had, however, told ZTN in an earlier interview in April: “There are a lot of child-headed families, orphans and old women in my neighbourhood who were going to bed without eating anything.
“So, I told myself I could make a plan. I took a 2kg packet of rice and some sugar beans and prepared a meal. I told my friend from next door to tell those families we knew about. 24 people turned up on the first day and the numbers kept swelling.”