News24 readers help the needy

2015-06-16 09:38
Baby Cian and his mom. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Baby Cian and his mom. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban - Over the last couple of months News24 readers touched by the plight of South Africans have responded by opening their hearts and have also dug deep in their pockets to assist the needy. Here are a few examples of how News24 readers have made a difference in other people’s lives.

Grieving family

On May 23, News24 reported the horrific story of little girl Philisiwe Zungu, 7, who was stabbed on March 4 by hit men allegedly sent by her father in Nsuze, outside Tongaat.

The little girl’s mother Mbali Zungu, told News24 that Philisiwe was stabbed 40 times, disembowelled and had her throat slit. The men took Philisiwe and locked the rest of the family in a rondavel, minutes later the family made the shocking discovery of Philisiwe’s remains. In early May, police arrested Simosakhe Ngcobo in connection to Philiswa's murder.

News24 visited Philisiwe’s grave, which is on the side of a hill behind the rondavels. The family was too poor to afford a headstone, so they have placed the branches of thorn bush trees on top of the grave to prevent dogs and other animals from digging it up.

Readers were so touched by the story that they have committed to building a proper tombstone for the little girl. Reader Joanne Maclennan wrote: “Can’t something be done to help with a tombstone? I'll donate. R.I.P. little one. May Justice prevail. Strength and hope to your grieving family.”

Rare birth defect

The story of a 5-year-old North-West boy who was born without external genitals touched also touched our readers.

On May 20, Netwerk24 reported the story of the boy who was born with a rare birth defect called epispadias. His urethra did not fully develop, meaning he had to pass urine from a hole in his groin area. He has had to undergo several operations and currently urinates through an implanted tube.

A follow-up story published on May 25 by News24, stated that the little boy was making his first trip to “penis doctors” in Cape Town who could hopefully help restore his manhood. Many of our readers asked News24 for an account number where they could make a financial donation towards the little boy.

Battle for social security

On June 4, News24 told the story of a Durban mother who had been in a year-long battle with the South African Social Security Agency.

Anesia Thompson, 23, from Mayville, Durban, described how if she left her son Cian, 1, unsupervised, he could suffocate and die. The toddler can barely speak because he does not have a voice, literally.

When Cian was four-weeks-old, he had a tracheostomy pipe inserted in his throat to help him breath after complications at birth. Thomspon had to resign from her job after she found out she was pregnant, adding additional strain on the already cash-strapped family.

A few months after Cian was born, Thompson applied for a care-dependency grant, but Sassa turned the woman down because the agency did not believe that Cian’s condition was a permanent disability and that he was “fully dependent” on her. After three unsuccessful applications, she turned to News24 for help and within a week of publishing the story, she received a call from Sassa officials informing her that her grant had been approved.

Vulnerable elderly home

On June 5, News24 reported the plight of a group of pensioners who live in an area surrounded by a prison, a cemetery and an open field. The elderly told News24 that they felt like they had been neglected by their municipality and the local police.

Three couples living at the Pioneer Home in Krugersdorp on the West Rand told News24 that they felt like “sitting ducks for criminals” who targeted their council-owned complex.

One couple described how their car was stolen in front of their home in December. One elderly couple described how the area was a haven for criminals while another complained about the paint off their bathroom wall was peeling off. Another couple described how the ceiling in their bedroom leaked when it rained.

On News24’s comments section reader Daniel Freitag came forward and rallied other readers to join him in donating to the residents.

Man’s best friend

On June 8, News24 reported about the dire situation at the Durban Metro Police Unit.

The unit had a shortage of dog food, dog shampoo and a large proportion of the K9 force had not been inoculated because of outstanding vet bills. The police officers were so desperate that they resorted to buying the essential items for their dogs.

News24 reader Penny Stein from Sandton, Johannesburg, read the story on Facebook and she, along with a group of friends, have committed themselves to donating food and other necessities for the unit.

“I was so shocked and outraged when I saw the story and that’s why I felt like I had to do something about it. My motto in life is, ‘Don’t just think it, Do it,’ so we will be sending shampoo, food, blankets and toys for the dogs,” said the animal lover.

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