Graaff-reinet Help pours in for po­ver­ty-stric­ken lo­cal

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Voorblad -

GRAAFF-REINET — The sto­ry of the plig­ht of 57-y­e­ar-old Ka­tie S­tof­fels was high­lig­h­ted re­cent­ly by ENCA af­ter she was found to be li­ving in ex­tre­me po­ver­ty in a lo­cal towns­hip.

As a re­sult of the pu­bli­ci­ty ge­ne­ra­ted, lar­ge­ly through the per­sis­ten­ce of DA coun­cil­lor Sa­man­tha Graham, li­fe has im­pro­ved dra­ma­ti­cal­ly for Ka­tie.

W­hen Cl­lr Graham o­ri­gi­nal­ly met Ka­tie, she was put in tou­ch with an a­no­ny­mous be­ne­fac­tor who sent R 7000 to use for u­plif­ting Ka­tie. This mo­ney was u­sed to start con­structi­on of an ad­di­ti­on to her brot­her’s hou­se, in the form of a small zinc struc­tu­re with an inside toi­let and ba­sin.

Fol­lo­wing the ai­ring of the pie­ce on ENCA, Ms Dun­ga, who he­ads up the Cor­recti­o­nal The Ma­yor and Mrs G­ca­ka­si gi­ving Ka­tie the keys to her new room, wa­t­ched by Cl­lr Graham. Ser­vi­ces Fa­ci­li­ty in Graaff-reinet, got in tou­ch with Cl­lr Graham to see w­he­re her De­part­ment could as­sist. Cl­lr Graham took her to meet Ka­tie and sho­wed her w­hat had been do­ne so far. Ms Dun­ga spo­ke to her su­pe­ri­ors, in­clu­ding her Re­gi­o­nal Com­mis­si­o­ner, Mr B­re­ak­fast, and A­rea Com­mis­si­o­ner, Mrs G­ca­ka­si. Mr Nyi­ki, he­ad of the Kirk­wood Pri­son and Acting A­rea Com­mis­si­o­ner, ca­me through to Graaff-reinet and to­get­her with Ms Dun­ga and Mr Lu­tya, who is in char­ge of Com­mu­ni­ty Cor­recti­o­nal Ser­vi­ces, they de­ter­mi­ned that they would in­cre­a­se the si­ze of the struc­tu­re. They pro­vi­ded ma­te­ri­als and la­bour so that the struc­tu­re was al­most dou­bled in si­ze. They al­so clad the w­ho­le in­te­ri­or, pro­vi­ded a cei­ling, pain­ted the inside and fur­nis­hed it. The room has a bed, with new bed­ding, cur­tains, ta­bles and pots and pans. Croc­ke­ry, cut­le­ry, a kett­le and a sto­ve ha­ve all been pro­vi­ded by the De­part­ment of Cor­recti­o­nal Ser­vi­ces. Ms Dun­ga set up the w­ho­le room for Ka­tie on the day be­fo­re the han­do­ver. The glass for the win­dows and floor co­ve­rings we­re do­na­ted by Buks and Gil­li­an K­leyn­hans of Na­ti­o­nal Glass and a brand new com­for­ter was han­ded o­ver by Con­sta­ble C­lin­tin Joos­te on be­half of the Com­mu­ni­ty Po­li­cing Forum.

The of­fi­ci­al han­do­ver took pla­ce on Friday, No­vem­ber 3, with a num­ber of dig­ni­ta­ries pre­sent.

“It was a re­al­ly spe­ci­al oc­ca­si­on and Ka­tie was so­mew­hat o­ver­w­hel­med at the at­ten­ti­on and im­por­tan­ce of the e­vent,” said Cl­lr Graham. “She is ab­so­lu­te­ly thril­led with her new room and was look­ing for­ward to mo­ving in­to it that nig­ht”.

Cl­lr Graham then was gi­ven the op­por­tu­ni­ty to thank e­ver­yo­ne who had ma­de this pos­si­ble, in­clu­ding T­hem­ba­ni Klaas­en, the DA acti­vist in Ward 6 who first a­ler­ted Cl­lr Graham to Ka­tie’s plig­ht. She al­so than­ked Ka­tie’s brot­her, Ja­mes S­tof­fels, for being pre­pa­red to ta­ke her in and to ta­ke ca­re of her.

The Ma­yor spo­ke a­bout how it took one per­son to ca­re e­nough a­bout a­not­her per­son to ma­ke so­me­thing li­ke this hap­pen, and that this should be a les­son to all pre­sent that they are doing the work they do be­cau­se they are sup­po­sed to be im­pro­ving the li­ves of pe­op­le in their com­mu­ni­ties. He said that the­re is no ex­cu­se for pu­blic re­pre­sen­ta­ti­ves not to be doing e­ver­y­thing they can to u­plift their com­mu­ni­ties. He al­so than­ked Cl­lr Graham spe­ci­fi­cal­ly for the ef­forts she had ma­de on Ka­tie’s be­half.

Mrs G­ca­ka­si of Cor­recti­o­nal Ser­vi­ces said that this was the first pro­ject that they had un­der­ta­ken in Graaff-reinet and that they look­ed for­ward to doing mo­re in this a­rea. Cl­lr Graham as­su­red her that they would find plen­ty of pro­jects for the De­part­ment to get in­vol­ved in, as the­re are ma­ny mo­re pe­op­le who are li­ving li­ves of qui­et des­pe­ra­ti­on in this com­mu­ni­ty.

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