Assistance for local family

2018-03-06 06:00
Dawn de Louw with her 21-year-old son Chad.PHOTOS: aishah cassiem

Dawn de Louw with her 21-year-old son Chad.PHOTOS: aishah cassiem

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“I don’t know what to do anymore. I tried calling out for help all over already. I even tried throwing myself in front of oncoming traffic, but I couldn’t, if I am not here one day, who will look after my ill son?”

These are the words of a 53-year-old mother from Rhone Walk in Manenberg. Dawn de Louw single-handedly raises her 21-year-old autistic son in a small Wendy-house situated in the heart of the community’s gang turf.

The unemployed woman, who lives off a monthly disability grant from the government, was forced to leave her job 10 years ago to look after her son Chad.

“My boy was born with Down syndrome and we later discovered that he was autistic. I left my job because of the seriousness of his conditions, after he was asked to leave the school he attended at the age of 14, because they could no longer cope with him,” she says.

“He still wets the bed and needs to be bathed and dressed with my assistance. He suffers from sudden mood swings and when things triggers in his head; it goes as far as me being chased with a broom or being attacked, having to call out for help from the neighbours.”

De Louw says she made application to benefit from the City of Cape Town’s RDP houses to move her son out of the environment he is currently in.

“I have been on the waiting list for 14 years and haven’t been successful as yet. The housing department told me my son’s illness is not serious and that we won’t qualify for a house immediately. How can they say so? He can’t even be left alone.

“I also approached the ward councillor who promised to come and see my son, but he never. The property we are living in has been burgled and used for drug activity ever since a fire broke out that forced the owners to move.”

She says although her son doesn’t function as fast as other children his age, she still feels the desire to have him partake in beneficial activities. “He is a very lovable boy. He doesn’t go outside and is always in front of a TV. He loves watching sports, especially soccer. It will be great if there are practical programmes offered to him, other than his usual routines. This just to get him out of this space he is in.

“It is quite a challenge for me raising my son with no proper support, although I get assistance only from his father. I need a bigger space and good environment for him. I plea for assistance in whichever way
possible.”

Mayco member (Central) Siyabulela Mamkeli say the family’s matter has not yet been reported to the City’s Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department, nor has the department been requested to assist. He says such requests would have been escalated to NGOs that assist people with disabilities and their families and the Western Cape Department of Social Development for support

He confirms that De Louw was registered on the City’s housing database in April 2004. “The City allocates houses in accordance with its housing allocation policy and, in terms of rental type housing opportunities; we are currently allocating applicants with 1991 application dates and earlier,” he explain­s.

“Many of our applicants are in dire need of assistance and we are working to accommodate these requests but our available resources are limited. As far as BNG/RDP housing opportunities, it depends on whether the applicant qualifies, and resides in a source area selected for a specific project as well as the size of the project.”

Mamkeli says there are many organisations in the disability sector that provide opportunities and assistance to people with disabilities with the help of the City and has since directed the family to a suitable
organisation.

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