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'Life is difficult in Nkandla for people living with disabilities'

2016-08-02 13:28
Nkandla resident Zenzele Ernest Sosibo, 63, says life for people living with disabilities is difficult in Nkandla. He has been asking the municipality to build him a new house since 2010 when his house collapsed during te heavy rains. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Nkandla – Life for people living with disabilities is difficult in Nkandla, says Zenzele Ernest Sosibo, 63, from Enkonisa.

News24 listened to Sosibo, wearing a black leather jacket and worn out jeans, state his case to Mayor Thami Ntuli's PA at the Nkandla municipality office on Monday afternoon.

The man, who appears to be struggling to read his documents to the PA, says he has lost count of the number of times he has been to the municipality to ask them to build him a new house after it collapsed during heavy rains in 2011.

This time he has been told to come back on Tuesday with copies of his children's identity documents to prove that they are indeed his dependents.

As he is walking out, looking dejected, News24 stops the elderly man outside the municipal offices to hear his story.

"I am partially blind. I cannot see properly," he says.

Inconvenience of sharing a house

Sosibo says he is married and has seven children.

"Two of the children are with maMtshali, two are with kaMabaso and one with maNtuli. There are others with my first wife, maMlambo, they are old and I don't live with them anymore. There are seven of them all together."

He says he works at an organisation called eNduduzo in Umlazi, Durban, which specialises in handwork designed for people living with disabilities.

Sosibo says heavy rains have destroyed his home.

"I had six houses on the homestead. In 2010, I lost two of the houses and, in 2011, all of them collapsed and I moved. I built my houses on the same homestead where my family had built our family home. So I moved to our original home where we all reside. It is an inconvenience to live with others when you have your own place."

When his houses collapsed he was left with only a toilet and a tap he says.

'It is really difficult'

Sosibo says he first reported the matter to the municipality back in 2010, but has had no success so far.

"It looks promising. I have been coming and going, but today a lady said I should go back home to fill in a form and come back with copies of the children's birth certificates to prove that they were dependents. They said I should come back tomorrow so that they can assist me. I am not sure if I will be successful."

He says life for people living with disabilities is difficult in Nkandla.

"I cannot speak for everyone else, but for us that are disabled, it is really difficult. The roads are bad, where I am staying it is hard to see the roads because I cannot see. But I am happy that the government gave us water and electricity."

The drought has also negatively affected the availability of water in the community he adds.

Sosibo says he will be voting on Wednesday.

"I always vote. They said it is my secret, I cannot tell you," he says with a laugh.

'I am going to vote'

He says he is not going to vote in Nkandla because he has registered in eThekwini Municipality, where he works.

"I am going to vote at Nduduzweni in Nkandla, in Umlazi, where I work."

Sosibo says he was born in Mooi River.

"I was born squint, when I was young I had to work in the farms and one day they realised that I could not see."

He says he was 10 years old when his employer realised that he could not see.

"They took me to King Edward VIII Hospital to fix my eyesight so that I could work on the farm, but the operation made it worse and now I cannot see properly. I came back worse."

Sosibo takes off his thick glasses and shows his eyes.

'I can see your shadow'

The skin above his eyes hangs so low that it almost covers his eyes completely, but the man insists that he can see faintly.

"I can see your shadow, but I cannot see your features," Sosibo tells me.

He identifies his children by their distinct voices, he says.

"Two of my children have the same thing, they cannot see properly. They attend Arthure Blaxall in Pietermaritzburg. It is a school for the blind." 

Sosibo says it is difficult to get his children through school because the school fees are high.

"I am paying the same amount of money a parent pays for their children to go to university."

He says he pays for the school fees, but also gets government assistance in the form of disability grants for his children.

He earns about R4 000, depending how many days he works a month.

"We make baskets and other stuff. We use our hands mostly," he says. 

- Find everything you need to know about the 2016 Local Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections, or download the app for iOS and Android.

Read more on: pietermaritzburg  |  nkandla  |  local elections 2016

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