Ouma Maggie takes dream to her grave

2016-03-02 06:00
MAGGIE DIKGETSI was laid to rest over the weekend. A service to reflect on her life was held at her shack. Here Isaac Dikgetsi, her cousin, elaborates on her life. Photo: Boipelo Mere

MAGGIE DIKGETSI was laid to rest over the weekend. A service to reflect on her life was held at her shack. Here Isaac Dikgetsi, her cousin, elaborates on her life. Photo: Boipelo Mere

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OUMA MAGGIE DIKGETSI has passed away without being granted her dying wish of receiving her own RDP house.

She passed away due to asthma attacks on Wednesday (24/02) and was laid to rest in Kimberley on Saturday (27/02). The funeral service was held at her shack in Bloemanda.

This came just a few months after her son had been buried (in November 2015).

Dikgetsi started making headlines in Express Northern Cape in 2012, with her appeal for an ID and a house.

At the time she lived with her grandson, who was about three years old, in a dilapidated shack without windows.

As she was depending solely on her grandson’s child-support grant, these circumstances forced her to sometimes go into the veld to collect wood, or find empty boxes at a nearby supermarket, to make a fire and prepare her food.

By that time she was asthmatic and unsure of her age, but estimated herself to be 61 years old.

In response as to whether she had any hint with regards to her year of birth, Dikgetsi said in her fading voice: “Dit was die jaar toe dit baie gereën het en die water het oor die riviere (se walle) gevloei.”

Her circumstances left her vulnerable, as she was later, after her story had been published, frequented by politicians and various organisations with promises to assist her.

She received assistance to apply for an ID, which stated that she was indeed 61, which made it possible for her to apply for an old-age pension.

However, her pension was cut after a few months due to the Department of Home Affairs regarding the ID as void because of the uncertainty of her birth date.

The local Community Policing Forum (CPF) intervened during its 2013 Mandela Day Programme by applying for Dikgetsi’s ID, and it was discovered that Dikgetsi was in fact 73 years old after a pathology test had been conducted.

The CPF also assisted in activating her meter box in order for her to buy electricity.

The CPF intervention resulted in Dikgetsi getting a donation of a new shack from Katz Roofs and Bricks in the meantime, while she was waiting for an RDP house.

She personally pleaded her case with Angie Motshekga, president of the ANC Women’s League, who visited her in May 2014, as well as the late Grizelda Cjiekella-Lecholo.

“My biggest wish is to get a proper roof over my head, then I can die in peace,” she told Motshekga on the day.

She managed to use that same void ID to pass her vote in the elections of May 2014 and only laughed when Express Northern Cape asked her who she had voted for.

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