South Africa : ‘Please Treat Us Like Human Beings’ – Disabled

Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi stood her ground on Monday, saying the Enduduzweni Centre for the disabled would shut down.

She said this to a crowd of angry people from the facility in uMlazi, when they were demanding answers as to why the facility was being shut down.

This comes as the centre was deemed unfit for use by the Department of Public Works.

However, residents were having none of it, as they blocked the entrance to the centre.

They prevented police and social development officials from entering the premises.

As tensions threatened to boil over, Thusi held a meeting at the department’s offices to address the issues.

She was, however, very adamant on what was going to happen to the place.

“I would not be doing my job if I left the facility open when the Department of Public Works said the place was not fit for people to be in it,” Thusi said.

But these were not the only issues raised by the residents.

She listened to complaints of inhumane treatment and of working long hours like sweatshops.

Albertina Tembe, from the centre, said: “Our hearts are sore. Please treat us like human beings. We are old and treated like we are nothing by the centre’s managers. Let’s have discussions about this.”

Resident Duduzile Nkabinde complained about the department’s lack of consultation and transparency.

The people also demanded to know when the centre would re-open because they feared the process could take years.

Some of the residents were dependent on the stipends they received from the department.

Thusi said: “We have a wish that the place could be fixed and that you could come back to work there.”

“To say that we are kicking you out is not correct. But we do ask you to give the Department of Public Works a chance to fix the centre.”

“We want the place to be fixed quickly. We even saw opportunities that other projects could be done here,” said the MEC.

“It is not true that we look down on people and do not see them as humans. We also have family members who have disabilities,” she said.

Thusi said the residents would continue receiving their stipends.


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