Destitute family thanks Sowetan

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

The South African Social Services Agency (Sassa), which is responsible for the payment of state grants to needy South Africans, has intervened in the plight of the starving Magwaza family of Mpumuza, near Pietermaritzburg.

Sowetan published a story on the plight plight yesterday after it had visited the family on Saturday and found them in abject poverty.

A disabled Jabulile Hadebe-Magwaza and her family of five have been starving since the death of her husband Mehlo Magwaza in October last year. This had also forced the children to drop out of school.

Sassa spokesman, Vusi Mahaye, told Sowetan yesterday that all "has been sorted out for them".

He said the three children would be going back to school and Sassa would be helping them with stationery because they do have uniforms.

"We have already helped them with food parcels and tomorrow [today] the mother will be taken in a government vehicle to a doctor who will examine her.

"Soon thereafter she will be taken to our offices to be registered for the disability grant," said Mahaye.

Mahaye said they also discovered that the children did not have original copies of their birth certificates. They will be taken to home affairs where they will be issued with correct documents.

"I can assure you that those two that qualify for the child support grant will get it.

"Also, we will give Hadebe-Magwaza an additional R200 [grant-in-aid] which will be separate money from ourselves to help her pay for someone to look after her when the children are at school," promised Mahaye.

An ecstatic Hadebe-Magwaza said: "I still cannot believe that we will finally get out of this poverty.

"I would like to thank the Sowetan for finding out about and exposing our situation. I hope you do the same for others," she said sobbing.

Mape Shabane, who met the family two years ago, said she was over the moon that they have finally been helped.

"Maybe I will now be able to sleep at night because the situation was stressing me.

"I tried to knock on several government departments' doors without any luck," she said.