In January 2002, Hannes Botha received an appeal for help from a pensioner in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The pensioner had no funds and no food. Hannes bought enough food to fill his Ford Meteor car, took a weeks leave and drove the 1000 kilometres to Bulawayo and delivered food to the pensioner.
A few months later he went up to Zimbabwe and supplied the pensioner with food. He was also asked to supply a pensioner with food at the Huisvergesig Old Age home in Gweru. This he did and when he noticed how the other pensioners in the home was staring at him and the box of food he realised that they also needed food. It took Hannes another 8 months to buy enough food to supply 36 pensioners with a food hamper at this home. The pensioners did not know that they would be receiving food and some of them were so overwhelmed that they cried.
This is when Hannes realised that there was a crises facing the pensioners in Zimbabwe. Their pensioners were fast becoming worthless as inflation was out of control.
Hannes then started the Zimbabwe Pensioner Supporter Fund as he could no longer carry the cost on his own.
In December 2003, Hannes bought a 4 ton Toyota Dyna truck as he was supplying more that 100 pensioners with food. As donations were received the ZPSF expanded it relief efforts until it was supplying more than 400 pensioners with food, clothing and basic medicine every 3 months.
In July 2007 food disappeared from the shelves in the shops in Zimbabwe and a decision was made to supply the pensioners with a hamper every month.
In April 2008 the ZPSF was registered as a Section 21A Organisation and in July 2008 the ZPSF was donated a second hand 8 ton truck. This made it possible to supply more than 1000 pensioners with a food hamper every month. As the situation in Zimbabwe deteriorated a mobile clinic accompanied our trucks to Zimbabwe and medicine was supplied to the pensioners.
In January 2009 the ZPSF purchased a new 9 ton truck which has since been upgraded to carry a 14 ton payload.
In March 2009 the ZPSF for the first time sent up 3 trucks carrying 22 tons of food that was distributed to more than 1600 pensioners. It was also in March 2009 that the ZPSF store room moved from Hannes’s house to a warehouse in Malalane.
The ZPSF is only supplying 40% of the pensioners that it has targeted. As funds allow the ZPSF relief efforts will be expanded to supply the other 60% with food hampers.