'We could starve to death'

STARVING: Misola Saleta Hlungwani. © Sowetan.
STARVING: Misola Saleta Hlungwani. © Sowetan.

Victor Hlungwani

School feeding schemes, the only hope for destitute Limpopo families, have now been cut off by the crippling public servants' strike.

The Hlungwani family of Phalaubeni village outside Giyani, Limpopo, is one such family that now finds itself in dire straits.

Misola Saleta Hlungwani, an unemployed mother of six, depended on the feeding schemes for her children's survival.

The 52-year-old mother said life became more difficult since the beginning of the strike action on June 1.

Hlungwani said she could not access government grants because she did not have an ID.

She was born in Mozambique, but came into South Africa in 1978.

"I have six children and four of them are still at primary school. They would spare a little of the food given to them at school for us at home," said Hlungwani.

She fled her home country during the civil war 29 years ago and married a South African. She said she tried in vain to obtain a South African ID.

"I went to Home Affairs offices in Giyani, Phalaborwa and Makhuva to apply for an ID without success. I'm afraid that if the strike continues my family will starve to death," she said.

Hlungwani says officials told her they could not help her because she was not born in South Africa.

"Because of our poverty, my children are forced to sleep without blankets and the chilly weather conditions might cause them more problems," added Hlungwani.

Connie Mbodi, a neighbour who also depends on government social grants for her four children, confirmed the hardships the Hlungwani family were going through.

"I have tried to assist them several times by giving her food and money to travel to Home Affairs offices, but now my pockets are also empty," said Mbodi.

Mantshele Tau, Home Affairs spokesman, said they would investigate the matter and "if we find the woman has a strong case, with relevant documents, we will assist her to get an ID."