Balfour weeps

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Correctional Services Minister Ngconde Balfour wept during a door-to-door visit in Osizweni township, outside Newcastle in northern KwaZulu-Natal, at the weekend.

Balfour, accompanied by Education Minister Naledi Pandor and her provincial MEC Ina Cronjé, visited families in the area of the Amajuba local district municipality as part of the government's imbizo.

The ministers listened to the residents' day-to-day concerns, which included the lack of services delivery and development.

They said the local municipality was not doing enough to improve their lives and staff members in some offices were rude.

Young people raised concerns about the lack of job opportunities, especially from their local district municipality.

Balfour could not contain himself when he met 78-year-old Linah Mntambo, who told him how she struggled with poverty.

Mntambo said her grandson Nhlanhla Nkosi had been battling to get an ID book since his parents died.

The pensioner wept uncontrollable when she was presented with food parcels and Balfour also failed to contain himself.

"I am very excited that I got this food," Mntambo said. "I will be able to eat with my grandchildren because what I buy with my old-age pension grant does not last long.

" I also wish my daughter were here to witness her son Nhlanhla getting his identity document."

Balfour encouraged Nkosi not to do drugs and concentrate on his studies.

"I don't want you in my prison as most of them are full of young people, so make sure you don't get in there," Balfour sais.

"This also shows that as government we care about the people. The ANC took a resolution to build a caring society and it has to start by us demonstrating that."

Emphasizing the importance of education, Pandor said Nkosi should work hard to make his dream of becoming a pilot a reality. She also encouraged young people to make use of municipal offices to get more information on bursaries.