People forced to eat scraps with pigs

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Some residents in Nomzamo Park in Soweto are forced to eat food meant for pigs. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso
Johannesburg – Poverty has forced some residents of Nomzamo Park in Soweto to eat with pigs. They said this was how they survived. The Sunday Independent paid a visit to the area after Statistics SA released figures on the latest poverty trends last week and found a group of women and men picking stale vegetables while pigs were eating.

The report shows that more than 55% of South Africans were living below the poverty line, with 47% of black Africans struggling more than other race groups.

The report found that Limpopo and the Eastern Cape were the hardest-hit, while Gauteng and Western Cape were the least-affected but might be at risk in urban areas because of migration.

Nolofefe Sodladla said she was forced to eat with pigs as she was unemployed. Sodladla, who hails from the Eastern Cape, said she came to Gauteng to look for a job in 1999.

“I’ve never had a job since I came here. And now it’s worse because the price of food has increased. We depend on our two children’s social grants (R760), which is not enough. We can’t afford anything. My husband is also not working. Life is difficult for us.”

The 48-year-old said the truck which delivers food for pigs saved their lives.

“Most people are not working in this area, and we don’t have houses, water and electricity. We couldn’t afford to feed our children if it wasn’t for this truck. They have helped us. We choose the better veggies.”

Another resident, Nomalanga Zodumo, believes the government has forgotten them. “The situation in this community is dire. People are living without proper infrastructure and are eating with pigs, and our government is doing nothing about it.”

Matshidiso Seitei, who lives in a squatter area near Orlando East, said her situation was also dire. She said they depend on R270 a month. “Things are tough. My husband and I depend on piece jobs to feed our four children. We find piece jobs once in a month. I make R120 and my husband R150. Sometimes we have to do recycling to make more.

“My boys dropped out of school due to drugs. They were influenced by friends. But I want them to finish their Grade 12. They see from us that life is hard without education.”

City of Johannesburg spokesperson Karabo Tledima said the municipality was working on plans to create job opportunities.

“We plan to expand the city’s small and medium-sized enterprises hubs from seven to 14, bringing the total expenditure to R16 million in the 2017/18 financial year,” she said.

“We expect the number of small, medium and micro-sized enterprises supported through SME hubs per month to increase to 1 250 by June 2018. Ultimately 2 000 SMMEs per month will be assisted by 2021, which will represent a four-fold increase in the SMME programme we inherited,” Tledima said.

“In line with our vision of ensuring 5% economic growth rate by 2021, we need to create an enabling environment for businesses, especially small businesses, to flourish and thereby become employers of our people, especially the forgotten people who have been locked out of the economy for decades.

“The city has also allocated R162.7m towards City Power to electrify informal settlements, while R6.9 billion was budgeted for water with a capital budget R2.3bn. The city has also budgeted R134m for housing in Nomzamo Park.”

The Sunday Independent

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