Ngobi: When President Jacob Zuma visited Ngobi village earlier this year, Martha Makhubela was sharing a one-room tin shack with her siblings. Four months later, the family now owns a five-room, fully furnished house.
During the President’s monitoring visit in June, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s team was deployed to child-headed houses in the area, where she met the Makhubela family.
Makhubela, 25, is unemployed and takes care of her four siblings and niece. She relies on child support grants since the foster care grant she was receiving was suspended.
After the visit, Dlamini together with the South African Social Security Agency CEO Virginia Petersen, had a discussion on how they could assist the family, and through SASSA’s help, the Makhubelas were on Monday given the keys to their new home.
The five-room house includes three bedrooms, a kitchen, lounge and toilet. The house came fitted with an electric fridge, stove, kitchen suite, lounge suite, beds as well as curtains. They also received groceries, which they will be getting every month for the next six months.
Makhubela has since been receiving R1 050 in foster care grant again and together with her brother, Aaron, they will be completing their studies through Adult Basic Education Training.
Accepting the keys from Dlamini, Makhubela tried to hold back tears as she thanked Dlamini and SASSA for responding to their situation.
“When they first visited, we didn’t have a house and we would go to sleep on empty stomachs, but they’ve kept their promise, today we have a house and lots of food,” an emotional Makhubela said.
Dlamini on Monday revisited the area to evaluate progress made on developmental challenges identified during the President’s visit. She reminded the community that government’s aim was to see change in people’s lives.
The visit forms part of Social Development Month, which takes place annually during October. During the month, the department visits areas that are poor and underdeveloped, with the aim of engaging the communities to find solutions to their challenges, including livelihood and socio-economic problems.
Progress made since June includes the opening of a SASSA office, 12 km from Ngobi. Fifty families in dire need have been identified and 50 youth will take part in a six-month poverty eradication programme, where they will get a stipend of R1 600 every month.
“Since the office opened, 781 people have been registered, including 479 who applied for child support grant, and 62 foster care grants. Since we came here, 150 food parcels have been delivered where there’s dire need. In fighting crime and violence against women and children, an amount of R740 000 has been allocated to fund a programme to be run during schools holidays,” Dlamini informed the community.
The community also had an opportunity to engage with Dlamini and told her about their challenges and needs with funding and resources to kick-start agricultural projects as well as recreational facilities to keep the youth away from crime, drugs and alcohol.