17 June 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions of people in the world. The vulnerable groups such as the elderly, the homeless and the disabled continue to be hit hard by this virus. Many of these people because of this pandemic are unable to put food on the table. The homeless who were dependant on hand-outs by businesspeople in the main were also left with nothing to eat.
It is for the above reasons that the MEC for Social Development in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, Mrs Nonhlanhla Khoza, on the 13th June 2020, visited Amajuba District to assist those in need.
What was initially planned as a programme to monitor the progress in some of the Social Development facilities that are under construction turned to be a day to help those in need. MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza accompanied by the Mayor of Amajuba District Municipality, Cllr Dr Musa Ngubane, Mayor of Newcastle Local Municipality, Cllr Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba, Speaker of Amajuba District Municipality, Cllr Phumzile Mgcina and Speaker of Newcastle Local Municipality, Cllr Samukelisiwe Yende, started the day visiting the newly constructed offices of the Department of Social Development in the Osizweni area. These offices will also accommodate the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). This will mean the community of Osizweni and nearby areas will not have to travel long distances to access services rendered by these institutions.
The next stop was Vumanisabelo Protective Workshop at Osizweni. This facility is for the disabled youth who are offered an opportunity to learn some sewing skills. As the country is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and people forced by circumstances to wear masks in public spaces, the MEC was excited to see the masks produced by the learners of Vumanisabelo. MEC Khoza handed-over blankets and some food items to the learners of this school. She expressed her joy in seeing the young with disabilities using opportunities they are offered with to develop themselves and contribute to the society. “We are here at your centre during a Youth Month and this is one of our ways to show that we care about our youth. We humbled by your work which has been shown to us by those responsible to teach and coach you. We decided to come to your centre to make a contribution. As we deal with COVID-19 we thought it would be proper that we bring you the blankets so that you keep warm”, expressed MEC Khoza.
MEC Khoza in the middle of her planned programme had to respond to an urgent request by the Mayor of Newcastle Local Municipality that they visit one of the families at Madadeni Section 3 whose house was burnt into ashes. The MEC together with the Mayors and Speakers present assessed the damage and donated food items, blankets, and mattresses to assist the family while interventions are being processed to assist the family re-build the house.
The delegation then headed to Monte Vista where more than 50 homeless are accommodated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The MEC and the leadership had interactions with the individuals at the centre to assess their needs. Some indicated to the MEC that they are willing to be re-united with their families. Fortunately, through the Department of Social Development in the Amajuba District processes to re-unite some of these individuals with their families have already been initiated. The MEC supported this group with blankets to assist them cope with the winter season.
The last facility the MEC visited to assess was the Khanyani Rehabilitation Centre which is also being renovated. This facility hosts the under-age who have drug addiction problems.
The MEC ended her long day at the School of Industries where she handed-over more than 70 food parcels to the needy who are also affected by the COVID-19 and the National Lockdown.