DISABLED have no INCOME anymore

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

Disabled people in and around Thohoyandou, who have been operating tuck shops at two hospitals in the area, have lost their livelihood.

They find themselves in this predicament after the Limpopo health and social development department closed the tuck shops at the Tshilidzini and Siloam hospitals in Venda.

The Thusanani Christian Association for Disabled People have been operating the tuck shops since 1985.

They say they depended on the projects for a living but will now have to look elsewhere for employment.

Lawrence Masakona, the association's acting director, says the department closed the shops last year after putting them up for tender.

He says the association had been operating the tuck shops since 1985 and have never had any problems running them.

Masakona says: "We have at least 33 disabled people in our employ. The latest development means that the unemployed and their families will have to starve."

He says the tuck shop project helped to alleviate poverty in the area.

Masakona says: "We sold groceries and other items. Though the money generated from the sales was not much it at least enabled us to support our families.

"Now that the shops have been closed down, we do not know where to go.

"Does this mean that the department has nothing to do with the welfare of disabled people?"

Masakona says the plight of disabled people's children who attend schools is of grave concern. These people also have to face creditors who have to be paid.

He says the department should have taken into consideration the fact that their members are disabled and should not have included the tuck shops in the tender process.

Department spokesman Phuti Seloba says the tender process was fair.

"The tenders were advertised and the successful candidates won the contracts," Seloba says.

"We have explained the situation to the complainants and I don't understand what the fuss is about."