Khanyisile Nkosi andMhlaba Memela
ANC president Jacob Zuma yesterday raised more than R250000 to help lighten the plight of widowed women in South Africa.
Zuma led from the front by donating R50000 out of his own pocket.
Speaking at an event held on the North Coast at Esihawini, organised by the department of social development as part of a plan to bring government closer to the people, Zuma said he decided he would try and be of assistance after the women's group approached him for help.
The Widowed Women of South African (WWOSA) was established in 2005 by a group of widows "to restore the dignity of widows". The organisation has more than 5000 members.
"They came to me last month and told me about their plight," Zuma said.
"I was touched because I was raised by widows.
"I know the kind of difficulties they have to endure on a daily basis and realise that their plight needs government intervention."
Shortly after Zuma announced his donation, MEC for social development Meshack Radebe also gave a donation of R50000.
The Umhlathuze ward also donated R60000 and BHP Billiton Aluminium SA donated R100000.
Khethiwe Dlamini, founder and chairman of WWOSA, said the majority of widowed women were affected by poverty.
"Widows are often exploited and ignored by communities and at times even by their own families," Dlamini said.
"We formed this organisation during prayer sessions and always say Jesus is our husband and nobody can take him from us."
Radebe said he was aware that certain officials exploited those who applied for grants.
"I promise you we will be dealing with those people," he said.