Tears of gratitude after offenders build house for gogo flood victim

NEW Prison offenders built Gogo Zuma’s house. | Supplied

NEW Prison offenders built Gogo Zuma’s house. | Supplied

Published Jul 26, 2023


Durban — Pietermaritzburg flood victim Augustinah Zuma, 74, moved into her new five-bedroom home in Sweetwaters on Tuesday.

The home was built by offenders serving prison sentences at the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). The project was part of the department’s contribution to the 67 minutes for Nelson Mandela initiative.

Gogo Zuma’s flood damaged house. | Supplied

KwaZulu-Natal acting deputy regional commissioner Dinah Mtsweni said the ward councillor brought Zuma’s plight to their attention. Her roof was blown off by strong winds during torrential rain in November last year.

“Correctional Services decided to help wherever we could. We wanted to donate 67 houses, reaching disadvantaged communities. We have already built two houses here in Pietermaritzburg,” said Mtsweni.

Zuma said she lived with six family members, including her 40-year-old son, who was mentally disabled. Her family, she said, survived on her social grant. Tears of joy streamed down her face when she was handed the keys to the house.

KWAMPUMUZA area King Zondi, KZN Deputy Regional Commissioner Dina Mtsweni, Khululekani Nene from Gift of the Givers and ward councillor Miss J Ngubo officially handing over a house to Gogo Augustinah Zuma in the Sweetwaters area. | Supplied

“I don’t know if I should dance or scream. Even if I can die now I don’t care, I will rest in peace. I have been struggling whenever there’s rain. Water flooded the rooms. I am so thankful to mayor Mzi Zuma, the Department of Correctional Services, Gift of the Givers, the offenders and everyone who helped me,” said Zuma.

One of the offenders, Sibusiso Mbhele of Ixopo, who is serving a life sentence in New Prison, Pietermaritzburg, said it was an honour to build the house.

“We are happy to be able to give back to the community, showing them how sorry we are and that we have changed. We also ask for their forgiveness,” said Mbhele.

Zuma’s house includes beds, a fridge and kitchen materials. She was also given food parcels.

NEW Prison offenders who built Gogo Zuma’s house celebrate after being awarded for their hard work. | Supplied

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