Dept helps victim's family

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Nqetho - The Department of Social Development is to assist the family members of the man who committed suicide after failing to get an Identity Document, by building them a house.

KwaZulu-Natal Social Development MEC Meshack Radebe said on Tuesday his department had made a commitment to Sikhumbuzo Mhlongo's three brothers and sisters that it would assist them in getting a better life.

The MEC has urged the public to join hands with it and assist in putting a roof over their heads.

"We have asked different stakeholders to come on board and assist us in building a house for the Mhlongo family and give them a better life," said Radebe.

So far, kwaito artists such as Tizozo and Professor, DJ Siyanda and Big Nuz have said they will help the department raise the funds needed.

The victim's sister, Zandile Mhlongo, said she was thankful as they would be able to live like other normal families.

She said for years they hade struggled to find a permanent place to call home. The situation was made worse when Mhlongo, who had been the main breadwinner, died.

The department also plans to send Zandile to Cuba next year, to study to become a social worker.

Mhlongo, from Nqetho outside Hillcrest, hanged himself last month after a Pinetown Home Affairs official allegedly tore up his ID application forms. The official allegedly said his parents had to accompany him, to make the application. But his parents had died when he was still young.

Mhlongo left a suicide note that explained that he had lost his job because he did not have an ID.

The note, which was read out during his funeral service which was attended by Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, said: "I have persevered too long. I have lost my job because my ID application was turned down. It hurts to see my friends going to work."

It said that he did not want to become a criminal as he could not get a job without an ID. "I don't want to steal. I prefer to die than to go to jail."

The minister promised that Mhlongo's death would be a turning point in the department.