Disabled people cry rape foul

2019-05-02 06:00
Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Thabang Makwetla, talking to one of the wheelchair beneficiaries, Nozuko Kohli.

Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Thabang Makwetla, talking to one of the wheelchair beneficiaries, Nozuko Kohli.

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Chairperson of the Khayelitsha Disability Forum, Makadunyiswe Gqogqa, caused a stir over the weekend when he accused some of the local councillors of sexually harassing people living with disability in exchange for services.

He was speaking during a handover ceremony of wheelchairs at Fresh Fire Prophetic Ministries Church in Makhaza last Sunday.

The event was attended by the Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Service Thabang Makwetla.

A total of 62 disabled people, including children, received new wheelchairs. Gqogqa thanked the department for supporting them. He said as disabled people they feel neglected by their families.

“We don’t get enough support from our families. Our families only consider us when it’s the month end. And some of us don’t even know how much we get paid by the government (disability grant) because our family members take our money,” said Gqogqa.

He also accused the government for failing them. “The Department of Human Settlements is supposed to make sure that its houses are accessible for people who are wheelchair-bound. And they must make sure that the transport system is accessible to everyone,” he said.

Gqogqa called for disabled people to be considered for jobs in the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP).

A visibly livid Gqogqa claimed that some councillors discriminated against them, yet they wanted to have sex with disabled people. “We are undermined by our communities,” said Gqogqa. “And when we go to them, some of them ask for sex in exchange.”

He urged Makwetla to take note of their grievances. Subcouncil 10 chairperson and ward 94 councillor Patrick Mngxunyeni urged anyone who had fallen victim to such an ordeal to report it to the nearest police station. Mngxunyeni described Gqogqa’s comments as very serious allegations and called for them to be handled as such.

“These allegations are creating a bad perception about us as councillors in Khayelitsha as a whole. If there is any wrongdoing that happened people are free to go to my subcouncil office and report it there,” said Mngxunyeni.

Makwetla described the distribution of wheelchairs as national programme. He said the wheelchairs will assist the beneficiaries to move freely. “As a department we believe that all South Africans must be treated as equals,” he said.

Makwetla described Khayelitsha as one of the disadvantaged communities with many needs. “As a department we are rehabilitating the offenders to see life differently and ensure that they are welcomed back by the community,” he said.

One of the beneficiaries Nozuko Kohli thanked the department.

She said her wheelchair is old and she will now be able to move freely.

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