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Aids orphans' cash is frozen for four years

By unknown | May 07, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

The misery of Sisonke Home Based Care beneficiaries - whose stipend has been delayed owing to a system that was closed for the 2007-08 financial year end - continues.

The misery of Sisonke Home Based Care beneficiaries - whose stipend has been delayed owing to a system that was closed for the 2007-08 financial year end - continues.

This justification was rejected by Anna Mazibuko, who represents 17 beneficiaries who said it was not the first time the Mpumalanga department of health and social services had frozen their grants.

Mazibuko, 40, of Witbank said her organisation and four others were granted a stipend of R500000, but the department had stopped it.

"Nobody explained how and why that was allowed to happen," Mazibuko said.

The department, through its science and innovation information economy directorate, gives monetary support and food parcels to organisations that render home-based care services in the fight against HIV-Aids.

Mazibuko said her misery started in 2000 after her daughter was diagnosed with HIV after she was raped.

Soon after her daughter's death, Mazibuko said she started the home-based care organisation to share her pain and help those who were going through a similar experience.

" I also needed counselling, and starting the home-based care was my way of dealing with the pain and helping others go through theirs," Mazibuko said.

She said there were seven volunteers when she started her organisation, which has increased to 18.

"We visited rape victims, those infected with HIV and the households headed by children to give them support for months without payment," she said.

She was advised by a neighbour, who is a nurse, to register her organisation in order to qualify for a government gran.

The nurse also told her that apart from the grant she would receive food parcels and protective gloves to bath her patients once the department had audited her company.

But she says she has not received any form of support, while other organisations in her neighbourhood have been granted assistance.

In June last year the Department of Health, through its HIV-Aids and STI directorate, undertook to grant her organisation R162000, which was to be payable in four instalments.

Mazibuko said she decided to enlist Consumer Line's help after the department informed her that her stipend had been frozen and her organisation would be considered once the 2008-09 budget had been approved.

"This is the second time they do this to my organisation," she said. "They should not have promised the money if there was nothing allocated to me."

She claims her organisation was being victimised because she complained a lot.

SM Zungu, the acting superintendent of the Mpumalanga department of health and social services, confirmed that Sisonke Home Based Care's grant was approved in June last year.

He said payment was delayed owing to the system that was closed for the end of the financial year.


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