South Africa: If this is freedom then I don’t want it, says 80-year-old Flagstaff granny

Published: 10/Mai/2019
Source: GroundUp (Cape Town)

By Sibahle Siqathule

No IDs, so no social grants: family survives off grandmother’s pension

Eighty-year-old Nothembinkosi Nontsasa cuts a defeated figure sitting outside her crumbling home in Dlibona village in the small town of Flagstaff, Eastern Cape. Her adult children can’t get IDs so the family of six survives off her old age pension.

Family and neighbours say the government has failed her as she lives in “deplorable” conditions.

The family share two one-roomed mud houses, one of which is barely standing after heavy rains last month. They collect water from a river in the village. The pit toilet built by the municipality was destroyed, so they use the bushes to relieve themselves.

Nontsasa said she does not feel like she is living in a modern day free South Africa.

“If this is what they call freedom then I don’t want it. This is not real freedom. This is freedom to starve, freedom to be exposed to the rain and wind, freedom to live like wild animals.”

She is the only person with a steady income in the household.

Her children do not have identity documents because of an issue with her own ID.

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Year: 2019