From shamed to saved

2012-09-17 00:00

AN Ulundi family whose mother was killed for allegedly being a witch was over the moon when they received a new home donated by the Zanele Magwaza-Msibi Foundation on Friday.

Grandmother Lunguzile Zungu wept with joy. Her daughter, Khulumethule Mhlongo, had left behind three children — Sithembile, Fanele and Vusi Mhlongo — who were forced to live at different homes of residents who were prepared to look after them.

Frustrated with living this way, Sithembile approached Zululand District Mayor Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, whose foundation built them a four-bedroom house and furnished it fully.

Speaking at the handover Magwaza-Msibi said the foundation was established so that she could receive money to help communities in Zululand since the municipal funds could not cover all the costs.

Magwaza-Msibi assured the family that they were safe now and asked the community to look after the children.

She offered Vusi a temporary job at the municipality as a contractor since the children are unemployed and their father is sickly.

The district mayor said South Africa was facing a dire situation: people were suffering and struggling because of poverty.

“There are no job opportunities. People are employed by their political connections. There are some wealthy people in this country and some who are very poor,” she said.

To alleviate poverty in her district, Magwaza-Msibi said she would select five students from the four municipalities in the district, namely eDumbe, Nongoma, Pongola and Ulundi, and will give them the opportunity to do their driver’s licence in order to help them find employment.

The Mhlongo family were left destitute after their mother, Khulumethule, was allegedly beaten to death by relatives who claimed she had bewitched them. The matter is still before the court. Sithembile said she could never forget watching them murder her mother in her presence.

“It was very painful. At first I thought they were beating a dog as I have bad eyesight but it turned out to be my mother,” she said.

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