Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla embarked on a two-pronged visit to Hammanskraal on 16 April 2019, to inspect progress on the ongoing renovations at Fanang Diatla Centre for the Disabled, and to hand over wheelchairs to 50 beneficiaries from the local community. Inspired by former President Nelson Mandela when he said, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead”. Makwetla commended DCS for extending beyond its scope to lend a helping hand, and restore the dignity of the elderly and persons living with disability.
The Fanang Diatla Centre for the Disabled was in a state of disrepair before DCS stepped in to revamp the ageing infrastructure. The renovations at the centre are done using offender labour and it includes paving, painting, fixing the ceiling and installing new furniture manufactured at the Kgoši Mampuru II production workshop. Ms Onicca Sebokedi who is a Director at the centre thanked DCS for identifying the centre for renovations. The work to renew the infrastructure is at an advance stage.
The procession led by Deputy Minister Makwetla, Chief Operations Commissioner Mandla Mkabela and Gauteng Regional Commissioner Grace Molatedi moved to the community hall where Makwetla handed over 20 wheelchairs to disabled persons and the elderly. The Deputy Minister made a commitment that an additional 30 wheelchairs will be delivered to identified recipients.
Addressing the community, Makwetla said that DCS heeded the call in government for all departments, irrespective of their line function, to have programmes aimed at alleviating poverty in communities. “Even though it is not its core mandate, the Department of Correctional Services has to date distributed well over 2 000 wheelchairs to frail and disabled people across the country,” he said. He urged the community to do their part to build a humane society because it is everyone’s responsibility.
Ms Lettah Khwinana, one of the recipients of the wheelchairs applauded the department for caring about the wellbeing of vulnerable groups in society. She urged the department to extend the initiative to other communities in South Africa. Mr Billy Mokhari also expressed gratitude to the department and everyone involved in the project and for restoring their human dignity. He also appealed to the government to create employment for disabled people.