'we Are hungry, PLEASE help us'

HARDSHIP: A 36-year-old widow, Busisiwe Zikhali of Mboza, Zululand, who lives in a shack that has no windows with her children, Maxoli,13, Jabulisile, 9 and Njabulo,7. Pic: THULI DLAMINI.  23/08/2009. © Sowetan
HARDSHIP: A 36-year-old widow, Busisiwe Zikhali of Mboza, Zululand, who lives in a shack that has no windows with her children, Maxoli,13, Jabulisile, 9 and Njabulo,7. Pic: THULI DLAMINI. 23/08/2009. © Sowetan

A WIDOW from the poorest area in Zululand says President Jacob Zuma is her last hope in helping her put food on her family's table.

Busisiwe Zikhali lives in a dilapidated one-roomed reed house in the Mboza area of KwaMhlabuyalingana on the outskirts of Zululand. Now she wants Zuma and MEC for Social Development Meshack Hadebe to intervene and help procure government grants in order to feed her three children.

The emaciated woman is so poor that she says she can only feed her family once a week - and then only if a compassionate friend or neighbour provides the food.

Zikhali is desperate to care for Maxoli, 13, Jabulisiwe, 9, and Njabulo, 7. When we arrived Maxoli was boiling crushed mealies she had received from a neighbour, their only food for the day.

The children's father died in 2000 and the family survived on Zikhali's medical grant and support grants for the three kids. But the grants were cancelled last October, forcing Zikhali to beg for survival.

"I had to borrow money from people to go to Obonjeni to reapply, but it was never processed. I was also never given reasons why it was cancelled. Since then, I have been battling to feed my children.

"The situation is so bad that all the children have dropped out of school," she said.

Zikhali said social workers promised help in April when Hadebe visited the area.

"They only made that promise because Hadebe was here and that was the last I heard from them," she said.

"Please, Mr Zuma, help us. You are my only hope. As a mother it breaks my heart to see my children in this state. They are cast away because I am poor and cannot provide for them," she said sobbing.

Maxoli promised that she would return to school if she could get food.

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