Destitute woman sleeps in a toilet... and sometimes under a tree
FOR more than four years Maria Maphanga of Nyonganeh Trust, near Hazyview in Mpumalanga, has been sleeping in a toilet and sometimes under a tree.
Maphanga's shack collapsed several years ago. She started sleeping in the toilet and under a tree in the un-fenced yard where she and her late live-in lover were staying.
"I have nothing. After the shack collapsed I started sleeping in the toilet and under a tree," she said.
Maphanga, who originally comes from Kgautswane in Limpopo, said she sometimes slept in her neighbours' homes and yards.
"Sometimes I feel as if I'm bothering people, so I sleep here," she says, pointing at the toilet.
"I do not have an ID so I do not get a grant. I would like to get help. I would be thankful and would accept any help. I am struggling."
Maphanga cannot remember when she was born nor does she know how old she is.
Some of her neighbours have raised concerns about her safety.
"Sometimes she refuses to sleep in my house. I give her food and water. It hurts to see her like this.
"I fear thugs and drunks will attack her," says a woman who usually helps Maphanga with a place to sleep.
Another neighbour, Thandi Mdluli, says they have spoken to local councillors but they have done nothing to help Maphanga.
"It is cold at night. The councillors know about her situation but are not helping her at all. All of us do not have houses but her case is a matter of life," Mdluli says.
"They must help her get a house. We have been waiting for too long for houses anyway."
Mpumalanga department of social development has since visited the woman.
Spokesman Ronnie Masilela tells Sowetan they will assist the destitute woman.
He says they will involve other government departments, including Home Affairs, the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the (Mbombela) municipality.
Meanwhile Lesley Nxumalo, a community member, says he is mobilising residents to build another shack for Maphanga and pleaded with people to assist her. - firstname.lastname@example.org