A Marikana informal settlement mother, Nolufefe Jojo, has resorted to chaining her drug addict son to a 40kg gas cylinder after every plan to get help for him has failed.
The 42-year-old mother of four said her 15-year-old son has also been accused of numerous crimes in the area.
Ms Jojo said she is worried that her son will die if she does not get help for him. She has also had to defend him from vigilante groups in the area.
When Vukani visited the family on Friday October 6, the boy’s right leg had been chained to the cylinder while his mother and young sister sat opposite him.
Ms Jojo said she started chaining her son at the beginning of the year when he was accused of robbery. She said she had to plead with the mob not to kill him.
“I felt that this was the only way to save him,” she said. “I needed to save him from drugs, crime and being killed. I always feared that one day I might be told that my son had been killed for stealing.”
Ms Jojo said the residents had instructed the family to leave the area.
This, she said, had forced her to tie him up after numerous attempts for help failed. She said she explained her views to her son who understood.
A visibly emotional Ms Jojo said her son had been on drugs for many years. He started sniffing benzene before switching to cigarettes, dagga, tik and mandrax.
Ms Jojo said: “I just want my son to be helped. This is not the kind of life I had envisaged for him.”
She said they only untied him when he went to the toilet during which time he was under constant supervision.
Like any parent, Ms Jojo hoped and prayed that her son would complete school and rescue the family from their poor living conditions.
However, her aspirations were quickly shattered when she learnt that her son had dropped out of school in 2015, while in Grade 6.
She said she tried to send him to Bosasa Youth Development Centre but he was turned away. She was told he could only be admitted if he had been refereed by the court. She had also tried to send him to relatives in the Eastern Cape, including his father, but he was sent back.
Ms Jojo said she could not find employment as she had to constantly keep an eye on her son.
She said she used to run a tavern but no longer did so as she does not want her son to be exposed to drugs.
Sihle Ngobese, spokesperson for Albert Fritz, MEC of Social Development, said the department has asked the social workers from the local office and from the department’s substance abuse programmes to look into the matter.
Mnoneleli Ndlangalavu of the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, said the mother should seek help from the Department of Social Development so that the child could be placed in a drug treatment programme.
He said they do outreach programmes and the department should be contacted so that they can book the child in to a rehabilitation centre.