'Garden boy' set to get ID, grant
AN ELDERLY man who was removed from appalling conditions on a North West farm will be given an identity document and receive a pension grant in the next two weeks.
The old man, whose plight was highlighted by Sowetan last month, was rescued from his squalid existence by a North West non-governmental organisation called Age in Action and placed in an old age home called Sonop in Brits.
It has now been discovered that Elias Tshililo's real surname is Mutavhatsindi and not Tshililo as was originally thought. It has also been established that Mutavhatsindi is 74 years old and not 72 as was previously reported. He was born on March 22 1938.
Before his rescue he worked on a farm in De Kroon, Brits. Because he is paralysed in both legs he had to crawl while working as a "garden boy" on the farm.
He earned R300 a month.
He said his employer called him a dog and often kicked him. During our visit yesterday Mutavhatsindi looked happy and was using a stick to walk instead of a wheelchair, a sign that he was getting rehabilitated. "I feel like a human being again, it is nice here."
Mutavhatsindi said his confidence was also back.
"Before, I was scared to talk to people. I stank and did not want people to see me. Here we eat nice food and also exercise."
He said his legs were healing and that he no longer crawled.
"You see, I now walk like a gentleman ... I even smell nice. I can now get myself a nice woman," he said smiling.
The manager of the old age home, Johanna Tlhapi, said Mutavhatsindi was progressing well. She said the centre managed to take him out of a wheelchair to walking with a stick.
"There is a huge improvement compared with the day we admitted him. I think it's because of his positive response to the treatment we are giving him."
Mutavhatsindi is now waiting for the Department of Home Affairs to give him his ID. Tlhapi said officials from Home Affairs told them that his surname was not Tshililo but Mutavhatsindi.
She said Tshililo was his father's first name.
"They said his real name was Elias Khorommbi Mutavhatsindi," Tlhapi said.