[Debate] Tragic death of post-apartheid dream
grinker at mweb.co.za
grinker at mweb.co.za
Tue Nov 22 09:40:38 GMT 2011
SA Time: 22 November 2011 11:36:59 AM
Pledges follow tragic death of children
November 22 2011 at 10:57am
By NTANDO MAKHUBU
Martha Mmupule with her daughter Kedibone Mmupele, who lost four children as a result of hunger when they went searching for food at Verdwaal 2 in Itsoseng village near Lichtenburg. Photo: Phill Magakoe
Poverty rife in Verdwaal
Children die in desperate search for food
South Africans have opened their hearts and wallets to the poverty-stricken community of Verdwaal village in Itsoseng, where four children died of hunger and dehydration last month.
Articles published in the Pretoria News on Monday highlighted the plight of families from that North West community.
The four children - aged between two and nine years - followed their mother who had gone to find food, walking over 10km in the sweltering heat before they collapsed and died.
Pledges were made and offers to start up charity funds and feeding schemes were mentioned on Monday, while Hong Kong-based South African David Ferraris deposited R5 000 into the Pretoria News Charity Chest account.
"I cannot tell you how this article has brought tears to my eyes... how on earth can this happen," the horse trainer asked.
Cape Town businessman David Dorfman wanted to urgently start a Verdwaal Itoseng Children's Feeding fund.
Pledging R1 000 from the Dorfman Family Trust, he said: "I am devastated, we are in the 21st century, for a tragedy of this kind to have happened is extremely upsetting and most disturbing."
The four Mmupele children - nine-year-old Sebengu and his seven-year-old sister Mapule took their nephews Onkarabile, 2, and six-year-old Nkune with them through the veld to look for the two younger boys' mother Kedibone.
She had left them that morning for a nearby farm where her mother Martha was visiting her boyfriend.
Kedibone had hoped to bring back food for the family, whose last meal had been a bowl of soft porridge the previous night.
Martha admitted to the Pretoria News last week that the family was poor and that the children had not had a full decent meal in weeks.
A post-mortem found that the children had been extremely hungry when they set off on their walk.
The family, like many other in the village, have no documentation and can not access social grants.
On Monday the Department of Social Development, Women, Children and People with Disabilities in North West said the Mmupele family had received trauma and bereavement counselling.
"The family is also being assisted with relief of distress for three months, which includes food parcels," departmental spokesman Vuyisile Ngesi said.
He blamed the deaths of the children on poverty, alleged ignorance about the availability of social services and the lack of parental supervision of minor children.
The department had special programmes and projects aimed at educating people about the importance of social grant applications and identity documents, he said.
"The challenge is that people do not use the services at their disposal," Ngesi said.
A week-long process of profiling the Verdwaal community would start on Wednesday after which a service-delivery blitz would be carried out to help affected people in the area, he said.
Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities spokes-man Cornelius Monama said the death of the children was a reminder of the urgent need to fight poverty.
"We are working together with other departments to intervene in matters affecting children.
"We are confident that the North West provincial government is dealing with this specific matter and that other families in similar situations are also being assisted."
Readers who would like to contribute towards helping the community can make financial donations to the Pretoria News Charity Chest.
They can also drop off non-perishable goods, like canned foods, at the Pretoria News offices at 216 Vermeulen Street in the city centre.
For account number details see the box above left.
Pretoria News Charity Chest, Standard Bank, Library Gardens;Account: 000 733 091;Branch Code 001005.
Readers should please put ''VERDWAAL" in the reference section
Ntando.makhubu at inl.co.za - Pretoria News
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