Poverty puts family in toilet-sized house

Riot Hlatshwayo and Lazarus Mnisi

Riot Hlatshwayo and Lazarus Mnisi

Poverty continues to rear its ugly head, especially in rural villages where the lack of housing, employment and food results in serious hardships.

A typical example is Mozambican-born James Baloyi, 72, who arrived in South Africa in 1988.

He lives in a small, dingy, dimly-lit, windowless house the size of an average family toilet - with his wife and 13 children.

"I live here with my wife, 13 children and three grand-children, but we are lucky that neighbours help us with accommodation otherwise we would be forced to scramble for space in this mud hut."

Baloyi, of Rolle village near Thulamahashe, told Sowetan that his children had gone to ask for food from relatives in a neighbouring village and that's why they were not at home on Sunday.

But he was with his wife Alice Mujovo and two grandchildren who are twins.

He said the only available money for the family was the R400 monthly grant for the twins.

"My daughter is able to buy a small packet of mielie meal and soap every month. We rely on relatives for food.

"I can't get an RDP house because I don't have an identity document and cannot obtain one because the officials at the local Home Affairs Department keeps sending us from pillar to post."

Baloyi said he was concerned about the fact that a policeman and his wife had obtained an RDP house using the wife's name.

He said this showed that corruption has not stopped since the husband is employed.

"We are treated like some kind of useless individuals and don't know where to turn to for help."

A social development official, Martin Makwela, promised that officials would visit the family and try to work out a solution.