ORPHANED children came in their numbers, and they could not hold back tears when they received uniforms and groceries from visiting government leaders to the Amajuba district.
Traditional leaders, mayors and councillors on Tuesday urged the leaders to "save the mothers". They called for urgent action to fight diseases such as HIV-Aids and Tuberculosis.
The visiting provincial MEC for health Sibongiseni Dhlomo and social development head Bheki Nkosi handed over the gifts to the needy children.
Accepting their food parcels and uniforms, Zwane sisters Sthembiso, a Grade 7 pupil from Mlondolozi High School, and Duduzile, a Grade 12 pupil from Nhlosokuhle High School, could not hold back tears.
"We are happy we will be able to go to school clean and having food to eat."
Dhlomo and Nkosi had visited the child-headed households to see for themselves poverty alleviation coordinated at ward level, home gardens, a home for orphaned and vulnerable children (St Anthony home at Blaaubosch) and also address various leaders at Madadeni Community Hall.
It was part of the provincial government Joint Cluster Flagship Programme - an intervention to create healthy and sustainable communities through a multi-pronged approach involving all government departments.
It is aimed at responding to the highest disease burden associated with underdevelopment and poverty in the province, crime and women and youth underdevelopment.
The district is one of the poorest with a population of 468037 and has a 34percent HIV-Aids infection rate.
Both departments are the champions of the flagship programme as they deal directly with the social ills daily.
Dhlomo said his visit was aimed at encouraging the leadership at various levels to take ownership of the programme.
"By working together with people, government will ensure that comprehensive interventions are provided to build healthy and sustainable communities," he said.