HOMING IN ON KIDS: Reuban Mzinyathi, 20, top left, receives the keys to a renovated house from mayor Zanoxolo Wayile with his brothers Luvuyo, left, and Aphelelele, right.
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality mayor Zanoxolo Wayile on Friday handed over a newly renovated house to a child-headed family of three boys at Nobatana Street, KwaZakhele.
The house is one of those that were identified by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe when he visited Port Elizabeth, both as deputy president and the National Aids Council chairman, in December last year.
At the time, Motlanthe said he was disturbed by the poverty and the condition of the house the boys were living in.
After the death of their parents, the boys were left without a guardian resulting in them having to fend for themselves. A dilapidated house was all that was left to them by their parents.
Linking the situation of the boys to the problem of child-headed families that are caused by the HIV and Aids pandemic, Motlanthe then instructed the Nelson Mandela Bay municipal leadership to work on means to improve the situation for the family.
The metro’s human settlements officials voluntarily decided to take it upon themselves to mobilise resources for the renovation of the house.
A positive response from business two months ago led to the house being renovated and installed with a solar water geyser. More than five companies came to the party with some municipal officials using their own time to assist with renovations.
The house’s eldest child, Reuban Mzinyathi said on Friday: “I am touched, this must be the best day of my life.
“I can not believe that our home has been changed into such a beautiful house.”
Mzinyathi, 20, said he wanted to be a medical doctor. The government promised him that he would be sent to Cuba next year, given he passed, to study medicine.
Mzinyathi also promised Wayile that they would look after the house and work hard in school to change their family situation for the better.
“The help we have got is humbling. We as a child-headed family hope that this kind of support can reach other children who are in the same situation as ours,” Mzinyathi said.
Wayile thanked municipal officials and business for responding to the call to help the Mzinyathi children.
“The municipal officials who worked on this project have shown that they are a cadre of a special type that President Jacob Zuma always wished for within government. The relationship you have created with business in improving lives is highly appreciated,” Wayile said.