Residents plead with MEC to help

Bed-ridden Daniel Mthitshane needs a wheelchair to move around.

Kuyasa residents in Khayelitsha have made an impassioned plea to Social Development MEC Albert Fritz to help find them employment, land, houses and wheelchairs for their disabled family members.

The MEC ventured in Khayelitsha on Tuesday June 7, to listen to the people’s challenges after he was requested by community leaders to personally visit the area.

From Kuyasa to Harare, Mr Fritz walked the streets of Khayelitsha interacting with residents who care for relatives living with disabilities.

Residents said they could no longer bear their living conditions.

Mr Fritz was taken to houses where leaders felt there was a need for help from the government.

Most were houses with people with disabilities while others were soup kitchens trying to help others.

Deep in the area lies a soup kitchen that feeds more than 250 sick people a day.

Not far from the Yiza Ekhaya Soup Kitchen, the Willie family has a 26-year-old son, Andile, in a wheelchair and are struggling to make ends meet.

As you drive around the corner, a bedridden father lies helplessly.

The families and some residents described their hard lives of living with no ramps for wheelchairs, food, proper houses and other necessities.

The Willie family said they are living in uncertainty because anything can happen to their son. Father Noor Willie appealed to the MEC to at least provide them with a house as the family is living in a friend’s house. The MEC promised to meet with Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela about the issue.

“All we want is a house. A disabled- friendly house for our son. The house that we are in is not ours. It has no ramp for him and it is small inside so he cannot manoeuvre well,” Mr Willie said.

Nompilo Linda serves residents at her soup kitchen. She said she runs an aftercare free for children of parents who cannot afford paying. Her plea to the MEC was a piece of land where she could build a better house for the sick and children.

She said people were referred to her for food by the local clinics.

“I am sincerely appealing to the MEC to assist us and our community to get land. Most people are not working in Kuyasa. We have to feed those who are sick and those that are sitting at home doing nothing. There are children that we have to look after too,” she said.

Athandile Ngcakaza, daughter of Daniel Mthitshane who is bedridden, said they had faith now that somebody from the high echelons of government had visited them. She said she is struggling to take her father around without a proper wheelchair and a better house.

“There is hope now. We have never had an MEC visiting us before or a member of government. This brings hope to me. I hope things will change,” she said.

But she also hopes that the visit was not a an electioneering stunt.

Talking to Vukani, the MEC said he was happy to have taken time out to meet mostly people with disabilities. He said in keeping with the ongoing disabilities outreach campaign, he decided to visit six families that stay with a person living with a disability.

Asked about the demands and cries of the community, Mr Fritz said some are do-able while some are not in his power.

“For example the housing issues. That does not fall under my department but what I can do is to speak to Mr Madikizela. But issues of wheelchairs and funding the soup kitchen are do-able. We can look at why people are not getting funding. We can see where can we get wheelchairs. The land issue is a municipality issue,” he said.

He said it was encouraging to see, first-hand, the crucial role caring and committed parents and family members play in the lives of people living with disabilities.

The MEC indicated that there would be immediate follow-up from social workers from the Department of Social Development Khayelitsha local office and officials from the disability programme.

He said members of the public looking for information on services available for people living with disabilities can contact the DSD hotline on 0800 220 250