DAY AND NIGHT, Alpheus lies on a mat on the floor, dealing with the rain and cold in a rundown hut.
His family go without warm clothes and proper shoes and often sleep without food in their tummies.
AND ALL THEY HAVE BETWEEN THEM AND STARVATION IS ALPHEUS’ GRANT.
Alpheus Dubazana (58) from the little village of Bhukhanana in Empangeni, 20km from Richards Bay, receives a disability grant of R1 740. That’s what he and his eight family live on.
He is epileptic.
“Being sick is hard, but dealing with damp and cold while in that state is worse,” said Nelisiwe Zulu (44), Alpheus’ niece.
She said Alpheus buys groceries with the grant money.
The five kids are aged between three and 20. Four are at school while one goes to creche.
Nelisiwe said the older kids walk for nearly an hour to school.
She said the family normally buys 50kg mealie mealie and 10kg of rice, sugar and flour.
“We also ensure that we buy 10kg beans and 10kg of potatoes. But it doesn’t last us the whole month. On the third week the other food gets finished and we survive on uphuthu and water.”
She said they only eat meat once or twice a month as they only buy one 5kg chicken and cook many pieces in one day as they are many,” said Nelisiwe.
When the SunTeam visited the family Alpheus, who can’t speak, was lying on a thin blanket with another one to cover him.
The walls seemed to be ready to collapse while the roof was covered with old tent canvas, the wind howling through the holes in the wall and the sails. Nelisiwe said all the seasons are difficult.
Councillor Zakheleni Xulu said the family should have benefitted from a 1 500-unit project approved in 2014 but it was not completed.
“When I question the municipality I’m told the project is in the planning stage,” said Xulu.
Mdu Ncalane, uMhlathuze municipal spokesman, said: “We’ll work on the matter. We’ll locate Dubazana and profile him.”
Ncalane denied any knowledge of the 1 500-unit project and referred the SunTeam to the KZN Human Settlements Department.
Human settlements spokesman Mbulelo Baloyi said: “There are two projects in ward 33. There are more 241 Operation Sukuma Sakhe intervention houses planned, of which three have been built, and outstanding 238 houses are soon to be built.”
He said Dubazana’s name was not among the 238 beneficiaries.
“We’ll talk to the ward councillor and uMhlathuze to make arrangements for profiling of Dubazana.”