The City’s Joint Operations Centre (JOC) has experienced a spike in daily calls from residents seeking food relief since the lockdown was promulgated.
At the same time, there’s a surge in the number of people who need medical aid from the City, particularly screening and testing services.
Established by the City of Joburg to deal with disaster management issues during the lockdown, the JOC is seeing food insecurity as a major effect of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
JOC chairperson and acting chief of Emergency Management Services (EMS) Rapulana Monageng says most calls are from residents who need immediate food relief.
“We receive calls from people who don’t even stay in Gauteng and from people outside the City of Joburg, like Pretoria and Tembisa,” Monageng says.
He notes that the 24-hour operations centre has been set up to deal with any emergencies happening within the municipal jurisdiction of Johannesburg.
JOC services include food donations and distribution, Covid-19 community awareness, volunteer management, and to identify buildings that need to be quarantined and can be used as isolation centres as well as shelters for the homeless, among other things.
Formerly known as the Joint Operations Disaster Management Centre (JODMC), the JOC is made up of the City’s core departments such as JMPD, Pikitup, City Power, Joburg Water, EMS, Health and Social Development as well as Communication and Marketing. Each core department is represented by two or more employees who make decisions on behalf of their respective divisions.
“It was very important that each department is represented by someone who has the authority to make decisions because we are operating under a crisis, and decisions need to be made urgently. Members who sit at JOC are directors and senior managers, we also have the support of administrators and data capturers,” Monageng explains.
The City’s JOC is established under the Disaster Management Act of 2002 and will continue to operate until President Cyril Ramaphosa lifts the national lockdown.
Monageng urges residents and organisations who wish to donate supplies for impoverished households to contact Bongi Mokaba on 082 559 3823 or email Bongim@joburg.org.za / Jurgensv@joburg.org.za; alternatively, donors can call the JOC 24-hour contact centre on 010 224 0932.