Fezeka Gabuza is a mother of five children living in Tsakane extension 10 in Brakpan. Unemployed she used to stock fruits and vegetables to help look after her children. Now with the lockdown she has been going through a difficult time as her business has not been going well. She ended up using all her stock to feed her family. Now it is pointless to think of stocking as she no longer has enough money to do so.
Daily she goes to a nearby bush to look for coal dust which she mixes into balls using water, just to light a fire to keep her shack warm and make food for her family. The food in her home has been finishing quicker as the children have been home due to the national lockdown. The money she gets for her three younger children’s grant has not been enough to buy a full month’s supply of groceries. She has no one else to turn to as most people in her informal settlement are also struggling as up to 80% are unemployed.
“The grant money only does a few things, food is barely lasting a week,’ says Gabuza who is a single mother.
She and others in the community registered to get food parcels when the national lockdown started but none were delivered. They have even gone to main offices asking for food, but they were told to wait.
“We were told that trucks would come and deliver food, but nothing has happened,” she says.
Few people in the community have received food parcels from their churches.
Gabuza and her children share a stand with two other families and all of them share one toilet. They too have been waiting for a house from government for many years. Her children have been staying outside for longer hours dreading to come to a home where there is no food.
“Not being able to give my children enough food to eat is painful, but what else can l do?’ she asks.
Her daughter who is a matric student has been failing to keep up with online classes as they cannot afford to buy airtime. They cannot watch tv or listen to the radio because the area has no electricity.
Gabuza and her family are one out of many families in extension 10 who have been struggling during the lockdown.
Bobo Kenke a community committee member expressed concern over the high rate of poverty in the informal settlement.
“We have been having service delivery strikes for a long time, but no one hears us. As we speak almost everyone needs food parcels as we are all unemployed. But we received none. In as far as housing is concerned, we have almost given up because no one has paid attention to our pleas.”
Bobo says the community marched to the Union Building in Pretoria to deliver a memorandum of demands to the office of the president in January, they are still waiting for a reply.
Author: Kimberly Mutandiro.