Toddler to have extra toes removed

2014-12-23 11:48

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Mbombela - Three-year-old Zwakele Dlamini is to undergo surgery to remove some of the 15 toes on his feet, and to separate the fused fingers on both his hands.

A surgeon, who has asked to remain anonymous, has arranged for the operation to be done free of charge as part of the Umsebe Accord - a partnership between the municipalities of Matola in Mozambique, Mbabane in Swaziland, and Mbombela and Nkomazi in Mpumalanga, to develop and promote co-operation and understanding between their citizens.

"The child is unable to wear shoes... because of the extra toes and is forced to walk barefoot," Mbombela municipal spokesperson Joseph Ngala told a Sapa correspondent.

A further R320 000 was raised to help the boy's family, which would include building them a new house.

Ngala said the boy lived with his grandmother, who earned just R500 a month as a domestic worker. She had to support three other children, one of whom was disabled.

They all lived in a one-room house in Hilltop in Swaziland.

Zwakele's mother abandoned him when he was 18-months-old.

He was born with a condition called polydactylism and syndactylism, which refers to a person having too many toes and fingers, or fingers or toes that are fused.

All his fingers, except his thumbs, are fused together.

He has seven toes on his left foot and eight toes on his right foot, but is able to walk.

Ngala said Dlamini was vulnerable to human trafficking.

"He has been wanted by anonymous people, maybe for reasons of performing rituals, saying, 'sifuna lomntfwana lonetinyawo letiningi' [we want the child with many legs]," he said.

"He sometimes wanders away from home searching for food, because of insufficient food in the house," Ngala said.

Mbombela Mayor Sibusiso Mathonsi thanked all donors, who included government and businesses, for their contribution.

Initially, R140 000 was expected to be raised to build a new house for the family, but Mathonsi said that with the extra money, more could be done for the little boy.

Besides surgery, he would also receive religious and psychological support.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  health

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