When you enter the one-roomed shack of Notizana September in Site B, you would be forgiven for thinking that it is an old abandoned structure.
But if you take a closer look inside the room, you will find the tiny and fragile Ms September wrapped in blankets on the bed.
The shack is riddled with holes all around and has no windows or electricity.
There isn’t even space to stand or move freely. Ms September lives alone. She is unable to walk and uses a wheelchair.
Some years ago she had a problem with her left knee and has battled to walk since she had an operation on the leg. Recently she fell and injured her other knee which has restricted her movement even more.
Ms September has been living in this one-roomed shack for more than 10 years.
The shack does not even belong to her but was provided by one of the residents who found her without a place to live.
But this is not Ms September’s only problem. Her ID states that she was born in 1972 but she claims that she was born in 1953 and her information had been captured incorrectly by the Department of Home Affairs.
As a result, she is unable to apply for an old age pension.
When Vukani visited Ms September last Tuesday, she told us that she depends on her neighbours for food.
A visibly emotional Ms September said she had five children and one of them was in prison while the rest had all died.
Ms September said she can’t remember the last time she took a bath.
She said she sometimes asks neighbours to take her to the outside toilet and if she does not see anyone then she is forced to use a five-litre bucket. She then has to ask somebody to empty the bucket.
She said her life had always been plagued by challenges and she prays that someone would help her.
Ms September said she has a sister who sometimes helps her with food.
She feels as if she has lost all her dignity and has no value. “I don’t know why God has kept me alive all these years when my life is like this. I sometimes feel like I’m just a useless thing. I wish I could be assisted and get a pension so that I could sustain myself. Without the assistance of my neighbours, I would not be able to survive. There is nothing exciting about my life, it is all misery. I just want to be assisted and live in a better environment.”
Ms September said she used to live with a woman who comes from the same village in the Eastern Cape but she had to leave after they had a fallout because she was not working.
Mayoral committee member for housing, Malusi Booi, said the informal settlements department will assess the state of her dwelling and assist with relief.
Joshua Chigome, spokesman for Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez, said social workers and officials had been tasked to assess Ms September’s situation.
The Department of Home Affairs did not respond by the time this edition went to print.