Relief against cold snap for destitute families

Boitumelo Tshehle

When the cold weather hit Magogoe village in North West on Friday, 23 destitute families were given blankets and food parcels to protect them against the chill.

North West MEC for finance Maureen Modiselle was touched by the plight of the needy people, 14 of whom where from child-headed families.

"I am very touched, I do not know what to say. It is not much but it is something that will make a difference for you," Modiselle told the families.

Boitumelo Phokwane, 20, who is both a mother and father to four of her siblings, was one of the people who came to receive the blankets and food parcels.

She said she was picked up at Ramaine High School by government officials, and did not know where she was being taken to.

"I am surprised and very delighted at the same time to be among those people who are receiving blankets today," she said.

"I am sure my younger siblings will be very happy when I arrive home today, because we did not have anything to eat today, this came as a blessing," she said.

Boitumelo, who is a grade 11 pupil at Ramaine High School, said both her parents had died.

Her father died in 2004 and her mother earlier this year.

"No one in the family gets a grant from the government. We only survive through the help of Pastor Badirang Matebane of the Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Magogoe," Boitumelo said.

"Pastor Matebane started taking care of us after my mother died.

"He immediately came to our house and volunteered to give us food hampers every month. He has been of a great help to us."

She said that besides the assistance they were getting from Matebane, "we survive by God's grace".

Speaking during her department's budget speech in the North West legislature last week, Modiselle said she would have preferred that the money spent to buy food for people who attended the session could have been spent on needy people "during this cold winter".