Paralysed man’s rat hell

Lizeka Ncethe and her son, Bongile, in their shack.

A 23-year-old bed-ridden man, Bongile Ncethe, from Mesiya informal settlement in Kosovo, Philippi, is being eaten alive by rodents, and has developed septic wounds all over his body.

His mother, Lizeka, says she cannot do anything as she is “weak” and close to death.

The family is now appealing for help to get out of their misery.

The two share a tiny shack – just big enough to accommodate a double bed and a small cupboard – with Mr Ncethe’s 13-year-old sister.

The shack is not accessible to anyone else and has no windows.

Mr Ncethe, who was shot by unknown assailants at his home, in March this year, is devoured by rodents, mostly rats, day and night and cannot do anything about it because “I cannot feel it when they bite me,” he said.

Mr Ncethe said he was visited by some nurses about three weeks ago, and they promised to start treating his wounds. He is yet to see them again.

Mr Ncethe said he was taken to Groote Schuur Hospital after being shot in the upper body.

The incident left him paralysed and he was given a wheelchair. However, he cannot use it so it is instead used as a table to put his medication, napkins and catheter on.

He and his mother lament the lack of help from the health department.

The 52-year- old mom said she had returned home one day to find that her son had been shot.

A visibly tired Ms Ncethe said: “I do not sleep. I have to dress him myself, try to turn him at night. There are times when there is no water in this area. I am faced with a difficult situation. I am also sick. I cannot turn him alone. We are both struggling. We are at the mercy of my daughter. She has to try to cook and do all other chores.”

Community leader Nowethu Sawutana condemned the local clinic for failing to assist the family and suggested that Mr Ncethe be taken to a place of safety. “This tiny room is not good for them,” she said.

Ms Sawutana said the matter had been reported to the local councillor, but nothing had been done about it. “I am so disappointed that he has never been here. He should be the one to give assistance to the family,” she said.

Committee member Nosibongile Dube added: “The social workers promised to look after him, but I don’t understand why they have never done that. I also spoke to the local councillor but nothing has happened,” she said.

Ward 88 councillor Siphiwo Nqamnduku, however, defended himself when asked about the accusations levelled against him. He said he had been told about the situation, but later told not to worry because social workers were taking care of the family.

He said he was stunned to hear from Vukani that no progress had been made to assist the family. “They told me about him and his mom. When I was about to go there a certain lady that was updating me on the progress told me not to bother because social workers were taking care of the situation. I am shocked to hear that nothing has happened. I will find time to go see them again,” he told Vukani.

Vukani also contacted the departments of Health, Social Development and Human Settlements who promised to put their heads together and respond to our questions.

Zimkitha Mquteni, the spokesperson for Health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, said they were investigating the matter.