Help for child-headed homes

OCTOBER 1, 2014

President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday visited three households in Mbali, Pietermaritzburg, where he spoke to members of child-headed families. The visits formed part of the Presidential Imbizo held in the area.

One of the outstanding moments for the President was visiting a home where an orphaned young man had the responsibility of raising his three siblings while studying.

“… Thulebone is the eldest in his family. He is trying to study… he is trying to work and to hold his family together,” said the President.

He was addressing the Presidential Imbizo held at the Durban University of Technology, Indumiso Campus, after his visits.

Thulebone Maphumulo, who lives in a RDP house in Mbali 2 with his three siblings, told SAnews that he was not really expecting the President to visit his home, as officials who were arranging the visit could not assure him about the visit.

Maphumulo, 21, said he was nervous when the President walked into his yard on Tuesday morning.

“The conditions we live in at home are not good. I am the eldest at home and I am taking care of my three siblings aged seven, 10 and 12. They are in school and I am also a student at a FET college.

“We do not have any income. My siblings do not receive social grant. We receive donations and support from our neighbours most of the time, but sometimes I get part-time jobs on weekends to make sure that we survive,” Maphumulo said.

He is studying towards a Human Resources diploma, but said he would really like to do a BCom Accounting so that he can become a Chartered Accounted one day.

“I started my course this year in June and I have applied for a National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) loan. I should be completing the course next year in December,” he said.

President Zuma committed government to intervene and adopt Maphumulo’s family, so that he can study the course of his choice as of 2015, while social workers take care of his three siblings.

“Both our parents died. My father passed on a long time ago, and my mother passed on in 2011,” Maphumulo said.

He said before the President came to his home, he was starting to lose hope and was tired of depending on neighbours.

“I feel like we are a burden on them because we ask this and that all the time,” Maphumulo explained.

“I can’t find words that can best describe my gratitude for President Zuma’s intervention. I truly appreciate it.”

Lending an ear to the nation

More than 10 Ministers attended the Presidential Imbizo, which was a first under the new administration. The Ministers were also deployed to visit various households in different wards across Pietermaritzburg prior to discussions with residents.

President Zuma later addressed about 2 000 residents from across the town in a tent erected on the campus sports grounds.

He said government took the right decision to hold the Imbizo, as it created a platform for leaders of the country to hear the laments of citizens.

“We cannot keep saying we are working while we do not know if people are getting services or not. We must have an Imbizo with people so that we can hear what they have to ask and complain about,” the President said.

He then opened the floor to the public to ask questions and comment on service delivery issues they had in their communities.

Some of the government officials had been sitting on desks with books to allow residents, who did not get a chance to speak out, to write down their issues to Ministers and the President.

The President said the issues would be taken to the relevant departments, and government would make sure that they are addressed.

He said his next visit to the area should only be about good news and no complains, as government would have dealt with many issues.

The Imbizo was supported by a number of Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers, KZN Premier, MECs and Mayors, who answered questions from residents.

Various government departments also put up stalls behind the main tent to offer their services to the people.

Photo caption: President Jacob Zuma visiting a home where an orphaned young man had the responsibility of raising his three siblings while studying.