Wheelchair-bound woman’s everyday struggles

Wheelchair-bound Cikizwa Njinoyi-Mzomba is appealing for better living conditions.

A cramped shack, threat of fire, uncollected refuse, inaccessible toilets and no street lights are all part of the daily reality faced by a wheelchair-bound Khayelitsha woman struggling to make ends meet in the BM informal settlement.

Sitting in her wheelchair in a tiny shack on a hot summer’s day, Cikizwa Njinoyi-Mzomba is pleading for help.

The 42-year-old developed a stiffness in her right leg while travelling to Cape Town from a holiday in the Eastern Cape in January 2016.

She said the leg became very painful. She consulted doctors but they could not find anything wrong. The pain extended into her lower-back.

She said she later went to Tygerberg Hospital where she was told that there these was a problem with her back. At the time she could not move at all. In March she went for an operation and spent two months in hospital.

She is now stuck in a wheelchair. She is now appealing for a decent house where she can move around.

Ms Njinoyi-Mzomba shares a two-roomed shack with her two children. Talking to Vukani, she described their living conditions as awful.

She said she has tried, in vain, to get assistance from the local councillor.

She cannot sustain her life on a disability grant.

“I have hired an assistant and I must pay her with the social grant that I am getting. I have to send children to school. Life is tough. But I am appealing for a decent house where I can move around. It is scary living here because there are fires especially at this time of the year,” she said

When Vukani visited her on Friday November 8,her helper was busy in another room. Asked whether she had applied for a house, she said no.

“Since we had that devastating fire in 2013 we were promised to be moved to a better place. So I have never bothered myself about applying. But I have on numerous occasions called our councillor to come see my plight but to no avail,” she said.

Councillor Monde Nqulwana said he has been trying to get help for all the disabled people in the area. “There are more than 50 disabled people in the informal settlement. I have been trying hard for them to be taken out of here. The truth is, she will get space when they are taken to Bosasa. I am waiting for Bosasa otherwise there is nothing I could do. It is not that we do not care about her, but there are other disabled people and she was unfortunate that she had the illness that put her in a wheelchair,” he said.

Mr Nqulwana said he was worried about all the disabled people in the informal settlement.
He admitted that the living conditions in the informal settlements are not only bad, but it is not safe either.

“I have sent a list of disabled people to the (former) mini mayor Anda Ntsodo but unfortunately now he is out. All I can say now is, she should be patient until the Bosasa project comes up” he said.