Forced to eat scraps with pigs

The Sunday Independent - - FRONT PAGE - MANY AN EM ANY A NE

POVERTY has forced some res­i­dents of Nomzamo Park in Soweto to eat with pigs. They said this was how they sur­vived. The Sun­day In­de­pen­dent paid a visit to the area af­ter Statistics SA re­leased fig­ures on the latest poverty trends last week and found a group of women and men pick­ing stale veg­eta­bles while pigs were eat­ing.

The re­port shows that more than 55% of South Africans were liv­ing be­low the poverty line, with 47% of black Africans strug­gling more than other race groups.

The re­port found that Lim­popo and the Eastern Cape were the hard­est-hit, while Gaut­eng and Western Cape were the least-af­fected but might be at risk in ur­ban ar­eas be­cause of mi­gra­tion.

Nolofefe Sod­ladla said she was forced to eat with pigs as she was un­em­ployed. Sod­ladla, who hails from the Eastern Cape, said she came to Gaut­eng to look for a job in 1999.

“I’ve never had a job since I came here. And now it’s worse be­cause the price of food has in­creased. We de­pend on our two chil­dren’s so­cial grants (R760), which is not enough. We can’t af­ford any­thing. My hus­band is also not work­ing. Life is dif­fi­cult for us.”

The 48-year-old said the truck which de­liv­ers food for pigs saved their lives.

“Most peo­ple are not work­ing in this area, and we don’t have houses, wa­ter and elec­tric­ity. We couldn’t af­ford to feed our chil­dren if it wasn’t for this truck. They have helped us. We choose the bet­ter veg­gies.”

An­other res­i­dent, No­ma­langa Zo­dumo, be­lieves the govern­ment has for­got­ten them. “The sit­u­a­tion in this com­mu­nity is dire. Peo­ple are liv­ing with­out proper in­fra­struc­ture and are eat­ing with pigs, and our govern­ment is do­ing noth­ing about it.”

Mat­shidiso Seitei, who lives in a squat­ter area near Or­lando East, said her sit­u­a­tion was also dire. She said they de­pend on R270 a month. “Things are tough. My hus­band and I de­pend on piece jobs to feed our four chil­dren. We find piece jobs once in a month. I make R120 and my hus­band R150. Some­times we have to do re­cy­cling to make more.

“My boys dropped out of school due to drugs. They were in­flu­enced by friends. But I want them to fin­ish their Grade 12. They see from us that life is hard with­out ed­u­ca­tion.”

City of Jo­han­nes­burg spokesper­son Karabo Tled­ima said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity was work­ing on plans to cre­ate job op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“We plan to ex­pand the city’s small and medium-sized en­ter­prises hubs from seven to 14, bring­ing the to­tal ex­pen­di­ture to R16 mil­lion in the 2017/18 fi­nan­cial year,” she said.

“We ex­pect the num­ber of small, medium and mi­cro-sized en­ter­prises sup­ported through SME hubs per month to in­crease to 1 250 by June 2018. Ul­ti­mately 2 000 SMMEs per month will be as­sisted by 2021, which will rep­re­sent a four-fold in­crease in the SMME pro­gramme we in­her­ited,” Tled­ima said.

“In line with our vi­sion of en­sur­ing 5% eco­nomic growth rate by 2021, we need to cre­ate an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for busi­nesses, es­pe­cially small busi­nesses, to flour­ish and thereby be­come em­ploy­ers of our peo­ple, es­pe­cially the for­got­ten peo­ple who have been locked out of the econ­omy for decades.

“The city has also al­lo­cated R162.7m to­wards City Power to elec­trify in­for­mal set­tle­ments, while R6.9 bil­lion was bud­geted for wa­ter with a cap­i­tal bud­get R2.3bn. The city has also bud­geted R134m for hous­ing in Nomzamo Park.”

PIC­TURE: BHEKIKHAYA MABASO

DES­PER­A­TION: Res­i­dents Nomzamo Park in Soweto are forced to eat with pigs.

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