A lesson for a heartless Cape Town
It was heart-warming to read about the doctor who is charging the poor what they can afford for his services.
In the Sowetan today we are reporting about Bloemfontein-based Dr Paulo de Valdoleiros's generous gesture of charging patients as little as R10. Some are not charged a fee at all.
The sick are thoroughly examined and provided with basic medicine for free.
Valdoleiros believes his influence is from God. Indeed he is God-sent for the ailing poor of the City of Roses.
We commend Valdoleiros's acts of kindness. He is a good example for all of us as we ought to assist the less fortunate where we can. And he is a true model of ubuntu and his good deeds are highly appreciated.
His story of inspiration comes in trying times when many in society have lost their bearings and the moral fibre is questionable. This week news broke that the city fathers of the Mother City have deemed it fit to fine vagrants for living in the streets of Cape Town.
The city has undertaken to fine the homeless all in the name of enforcing bylaws which prohibit camping, noise, nuisances and setting up fires in certain areas.
The homeless are now to be fined as much as R1,500 for some of the offences listed above.
Really, who does that to the most vulnerable in society?
Where are they expected to get the money to pay for the fines as the reason they are homeless in the first place is because they have no income?
Is this a ploy to lock them up?
Does the city expect them to freeze to death in these ice-cold winter nights instead of lighting up a fire to warm themselves?
We appeal to the Cape Town's conscience. Think again.
We are Africans in Africa, what defines us as Africans is ubuntu - being kind, considerate and taking care of the needy among us.
As Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu once said: "Ubuntu [...] speaks of the very essence of being human. [When we] say [...] 'hey, so-and-so has ubuntu'. Then you are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly and caring and compassionate. You share what you have. It is to say, 'My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours'."
Valdoleiros embodies this and the city of Cape Town can learn how to treat humans from him.