Disability group battles to keep going after robbery

The cash-strapped organisation in Musina has 250 members who rely on it

By Bernard Chiguvare

31 October 2023

Some members of the Musina Disability Forum in their vegetable garden. They sell their produce as a way to generate some income to keep the organisation operational. Photo: Bernard Chiguvare

The Musina Disability Forum has had to halt a project to make extra income for the organisation after items worth nearly R30,000 were stolen during a break-in at its premises last week.

The cash-strapped organisation has been battling to keep its doors open since 2017 due to funding constraints. The Forum’s director told GroundUp they were unable to continue paying security at their offices in September.

“We have to come up with another means of raising money so that we can still run the Musina Disability Forum,” said Yunsa Mbewe, one of the senior managers at Forum. He said on 23 October, criminals stole three computers, a gas stove, a vacuum, water pump, and the water spray gun they needed to open a carwash. He said the items were estimated to be worth R29,900.

Mbewe explained that the Forum was established in 2016, but in order to apply for funding, they needed a confirmation letter from the Musina Municipality. “For organisations to fund us they need a letter of confirmation from the municipality that we are operating here.” He said they submitted a request for the letter in 2017 but only received it in August 2022.

Mbewe said the Forum offers a number of services and job opportunities to about 250 people living with disabilities in Matswale and surrounding townships in Musina. Members make money cleaning toilets in different areas and selling vegetables they grow in their small garden. They make between R6,000 and R8,000 per month, which is not enough to run the organisation, said Mbewe.

GroundUp has confirmed that the Forum is registered as a non-profit company.

Asked why the municipality took time to send the Forum the letter, Wilson Dzebu from Musina municipality asked GroundUp to share the letter that was sent to the Forum before responding. We sent him the document on 25 October but he had not responded by the time of publication.