Mmusi gives 67 to the kids

DA leader and oth­ers visit home for hand­i­capped on Man­dela Day

The Star Early Edition - - MANDELA DAY - AYANDA NT­SHANGASE THA­BANG RAMMUTLA tha­bang.rammutla@inl.co.za

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.

PIC­TURE: MATTHEWS BALOYI

BET­TER THAN WORDS: DA leader Mmusi Maimane paint­ing dur­ing Man­dela Day at the Tumelo Home for the Men­tally Hand­i­capped in Ivory Park.

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