Joy as pensioner (113) gets new home

A TOOTHLESS grin was the sign of appreciation shown by a KwaZulu-Natal senior citizen when he received his first house.

Bhekuyise Mthethwa, 113, has spent his entire life in a dilapidated shack in Kwa-Dabeka near Durban.

He was overjoyed yesterday when he received his new home.

"I will now die a happy man after years of suffering. I could not buy a home before. I'm grateful now," he said.

Mthethwa's life changed completely when the SAPS Women Network, Men for Change, Gender Machinery and Men's Forum got their hands dirty to build him a home with the help of a private company.

He had been living in the shack with his grandchildren. His plight was raised by a group of concerned men during the Moral Regeneration Summit in 2008.

Chairperson of Moral Regeneration Men's Forum Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said building the house was in line with their values.

He reiterated his group's commitment to promoting family values, fidelity, responsibility, respect for parents and elders.

"These are the core values of this organisation as proclaimed in its charter," he said.

"We want to call upon men to commit themselves to nurturing children, providing support for the elderly, and the development and maintenance of the household."

The handing over of the house to Mthethwa coincided with International Human Rights Day.

Premier Zweli Mkhize said this year would be recorded as the year that saw leaders from allsectors working tirelessly to make the province a better place to live in.