Mmusi gives 67 to the kids
DA leader and others visit home for handicapped on Mandela Day
DA LEADER Mmusi Maimane got his hands dirty when he visited Tumelo Home for the Mentally Handicapped in Ivory Park as part of Mandela Day.
Maimane spent 67 minutes yesterday assisting with renovations and helping take care of the children.
He also assisted in painting a section of the home and donated food parcels to the children.
The home’s founder, Solly Khuthama, expressed his gratitude, saying Mandela Day was a special day for the children as they were afforded an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the country’s prominent individuals.
“It is a very special day as I always say Mandela Day to us is like Christmas Day. That’s when our children get to see a lot of people and feel loved,” Khuthama said.
The home caters for over 50 children with physical and mental disabilities, orphans, and abused as well as abandoned children.
Venetia Motsatsi, who’s been working with the children for nine years, said they experienced joy and excitement on days such as Mandela Day.
“We have 52 children in our care, of whom 32 are residents, while 20 are left here for daycare purposes. Most children who are here are those who don’t have parents, while some are abandoned. So these children need to be loved and cared for,” Motsatsi said.
“The problem is when children, due to mental disability, are hungry or sick but cannot speak for themselves to express that – that’s when you, as their guardian, need to be patient with them and give them the love they need.”
Maimane said he was touched by what Khuthama was doing and was also inspired by it.
“It tells me that there are South Africans who are still willing to do God’s work and they are still willing to come out and say ‘let those who are vulnerable be looked after’.
“I don’t walk out of a facility like this feeling angry because it actually tells me that South Africans are great,” said Maimane.
Asked what he would change at the home, Maimane said the issue of equitable funding was a genuine challenge and that it was important to ensure that funding goes to communities.
“I’m a father of two kids and know what it’s like to raise a child. I know how complicated it is to raise a disabled child. If you consider that more than half the work in South Africa around social services is done by the NGOs, the national budget needs to reflect that, to be able to give more capacity to NGOs.
“So, certainly at provincial and national government, we need to come back and ask ‘how do we lobby government to ensure that more money can be spent on facilities like these?’
“Why are we looking after politicians instead of looking after poor South Africans? It’s better for us to look after the poor if we are serious about freedom in South Africa.”
Apart from the DA, corporations such as Virgin Active, Iron Mountain, RCL Foods and Sasol also did 67 minutes at the home.
The petroleum company donated an aquaculture system in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic creatures supplies the nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water.
According to the head of Sasol’s Social Global Foundation, Brenda Nkosi-Bakare, the foundation’s aim for the day was to encourage their employees to volunteer their time, skills and money for good causes such as Tumelo Home.
Paulina Mnguni, reception co-ordinator for Virgin Active, said the company did not give back to the community only on Mandela Day, but giving back as often as possible was part of the company’s culture.
“As Virgin Active, we normally donate food packages every month instead of only on Mandela Day. So since today is Mandela Day, we just decided to come (as usual) to say ‘hi’ to the kids,” said Mnguni.
BETTER THAN WORDS: DA leader Mmusi Maimane painting during Mandela Day at the Tumelo Home for the Mentally Handicapped in Ivory Park.