Pensioner struggling

2015-07-15 06:00
Manthabiseng Lewatle cuts a lonely figure sitting in the middle of her tiny shack.
Photo: Jabulani Dlamini

Manthabiseng Lewatle cuts a lonely figure sitting in the middle of her tiny shack. Photo: Jabulani Dlamini

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AT 73 years of age, Manthabiseng Selina Lewatle should be enjoying her twilight years, instead she struggles daily in a leaking shack that she barely fits in.

Lewatle sleeps on the floor on a thin sponge she uses as a mattress under filthy blankets with dirty dishes, clothes and pots strewn all over the tiny shack.

“I don’t want you to come inside as I have not cleaned up and I do not have any chairs that I can offer you to sit on,” she said with a smile when Express visited her in Kgotsong, outside Bloemfontein.

Asked whether she has any family members, Lewatle said she has four children, two of whom live in Bloemfontein and come to visit her “from time to time”.

Although Lewatle’s shack has electricity, she does not have a toilet in her unfenced yard.

“If I want to use the toilet, I visit my neighbours and do my business while I am visiting,” she said.

David September, a neighbour of Lewatle’s, says he helps the old lady whenever he can, but would like to see her situation improved as he feels more can be done.

“My heart breaks when I think of this old lady; a person should not live like this, especially when you are this old,” he says.

Throughout our interview, a suspicious but cheerful Lewatle cracks jokes with her face changing to show deep sadness when we talk about her situation.

“I hope you will not get me into trouble and have my pay (old age government grant) stopped,” she said. Some heartless criminals posing as South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) officials, September explained, recently tricked Lewatle into giving them her Sassa bank card and pin number and withdrew her entire pension for two consecutive months. Lewatle’s pesnsion money woes have since been resolved after September helped her to visit the Sassa offices and recieve a new card. “I do not trust you well-dressed young people, I suffered for three months without a pension because of some people that look like you. That is why I am so suspicious,” she told the journalist

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