Her mother’s illness that forces her to undergo dialysis on a weekly basis has spurred 21-year-old Cindy to become a primary health practitioner, a dream she is keen to fulfil against the odds.
Cindy sat next to her mother Rebecca Ramafalo on a small bench next to the household’s gate on a rather chilly Diepsloot morning as a slight stench of running sewage across several streets in the informal settlement was in the air.
“I hope the Minister will help me to go to school as it will provide me with the opportunity to provide for my family. I hope she can take me to a college so I can complete my primary health qualification,” said Cindy.
Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo paid a visit to Ramafalo’s home on Monday as part of the Department of Public Service and Administration’s (DPSA) Public Service Month activities.
The Minister, who earlier in the day visited several other households, was pleasantly surprised by Cindy’s academic performance which was peppered with A’s and B’s.
Cindy, who matriculated in 2015, dropped out of college after completing her first year at tertiary in 2016.
She dropped out of school after her mother fell ill in 2015 and lost her job. Today the family survives on a grant which does not stretch enough to cover her school fees and transport costs.
“I couldn’t finish the course because of transport money issue. I was not able to do my second and third year,” she said, adding that her nine-year-old brother is still in school.
Her mother says it has become difficult to make ends meet, since losing her domestic job in Fourways. The mother of two undergoes dialysis at the Helen Joseph Hospital every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
“I am connected to the dialysis machine for four hours at a time, three days a week,” said Rebecca.
However, the family has refused to give up hope, with Cindy hoping to complete her studies.
“I will not lose hope,” she said.
Identification documents and sanitation
Speaking to the media after visiting several households in the area, Dlodlo said some of the challenges she has seen in the area relate to identification documents and sanitation.
“We’ve seen quite a number of very disturbing images of water that is wasted, of sewerage that runs all over the place and in some instances it looks like little streams and it’s something we need to work with the City on. Some of the problems that we encounter when we are in conversation with our people [include] for instance birth certificates,” she said.
At one of the households visited by the Minister, all five children did not have birth certificates.
“This means that they don’t attend school, they can’t access grants from government so we will be assisting them. It would appear that the problem of birth certificates is quite high in this area so it’s not going to end today. We have a group of community development workers that will visit households to determine the extent of the problem,” she said.
On living conditions in the area, Dlodlo said there is a need to kick start processes that will formalise the area.
“The responsibility really lies with all spheres of government, not just national government. We would like to see the City coming on board together with the Department of Cooperative Governance in the province and we’ll see from national how it is that we can assist in ensuring that.”
She said that the type of life that residents in the area have is untenable.
“Living in the midst of sewerage, the houses are too close to another, we need to deal with that,” said Dlodlo.
Public Service Month is commemorated every September to reignite, instil and rebuild good ethics and professionalism in how public servants do their work, and to serve as an opportunity to highlight service delivery improvement initiatives across the public service. – SAnews.gov.za