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Department donates 58 wheelchairs to needy

16 April 2019

29 March 2019 – Local residents with disabilities were given help when the deputy minister of justice and correctional services, Thabang Makwetla, handed over a donation of 58 wheelchairs.

MSOGWABA – Beneficiaries came from all the parts of the City of Mbombela Local Municipality and were identified by Mbombela Disability Forum (MDF).

Makwetla said although the department was not responsible for social development, as the government it should be responsive to the problems of poverty and general needs of society.

“Disability is one of the seven focus areas identified by the South African Human Rights Commission towards promoting, protecting, and monitoring the realisation of human rights in South Africa. People with disabilities constitute 5,1 per cent of the South African population aged five years and older,” said Makwetla.

He encouraged the community to work closely with the department to solve the problems of crime. He said it is not succeeding with reintegration because of communities that reject offenders.

We release offenders with the belief that they have been transformed and rehabilitated. They come out equipped with skills to help them become constructive citizens and members of local communities,” he said.

Timothy Khoza (91) is a local community member whose right lower leg was amputated because of high blood pressure complications.

He used crutches for seven years before his shoulders gave up on him because of his age. He got his old wheelchair at a local hospital five years ago, but was delighted to receive a new one that will guarantee his mobility for longer.

Delisile Vilakazi (26) said her wheelchair was worn out and she needed a new one. Vilakazi fell sick and could not walk any longer.

She said she was grateful to be alive and was looking forward to getting a job and working towards providing for her one-year old baby boy.

The chairman of the MDF, Moses Mlombo, thanked the department for its initiative and challenged it to do more by providing more employment opportunities for the disabled.

He said wheelchairs are not a luxury but a need, to make sure that disabled persons are able to move around.

Correctional services has established 30 community corrections service points in Mbombela and has 324 parolees and probationers involved in community work in the district. It has also facilitated restorative justice processes with 634 victims and 140 offenders in the local communities for the 2018/19 financial year.

The wheelchair project started in 2013.
About 2 000 wheelchairs have since been donated to the needy. The wheelchairs are donated by the Hillsong Church in Australia

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