People with disabilities continue to face hardships in deep rural areas. The community of Njezweni outside Ngqeleni in the Eastern Cape has raised concerns about the deteriorating condition of 69-year-old Nomalinge Vaphi.
Vaphi was born with a physical disability and she is also deaf. She has used wooden sticks throughout her life and communication with her family has been minimal.
Nomalinge has never learned sign language as she has never been to school. The Vaphi family of seven depends on Nomalinge’s old age grant of R1 800.
Veliswa Vaphi and family friend Virginia Memani say they would like to see Nomalinge’s life improved.
“I’m not happy with the wood sticks she uses to walk. I would like to see a house being built for her because this home is not conducive to her condition,” says Veliswa Vaphi.
She was using one stick to walk, now I see it’s becoming difficult to walk so she uses two. These are wooden sticks were picked up for her by her sister in the field. We would like to see her using proper walking sticks, even her place to stay is not good for her,” says Memani.
Eastern Cape Department of Social Development spokesperson Mzukisi Solani says officials have been sent to assess Nomalinge’s situation.
“On issues of disability the Department of Health will have to come in and on the issue of infrastructure the Department of Human Settlements will have to come in and on aspects where there’s a need, for our agencies to also come in, we will rope in SASSA to assist. This ultimately affects what we call an inter-governmental intervention to make sure when we intervene; we intervene in a comprehensive manner,” says Solani.
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