Amputee uses a plastic bag for a toilet

| Ntombi Mbomvu
Annacleta Zungu sitting outside her house. Picture by Ntombi Mbomvu.

Fifty-three year old Annacleta Zungu, who has only one leg, uses a plastic bag as a toilet at night because she is afraid to use the pit toilet outside her Pietermaritzburg house. Zungu, who is diabetic, lost her leg last year.

Her Willowfontein house, which has no inside toilet, leaks and is cold in winter. She applied for a low cost house, but cannot remember when. “It was so long ago and from then I was not keen to make another application,” she said.

In winter, she spends most of the day outside in the sun to stay warm.

She has an outside pit toilet made of corrugated iron and plastic bags but she is afraid to use it at night. “When nature calls, I have no choice but to use my crutches to reach the toilet during the day. At night I relieve myself in a plastic bag. I am worried about my safety.”

“I moved to this side in 1990 from Impendle. After losing my parents, my brother suggested that I come and live with him. He passed away in 2003 and I had no choice but to continue living here.”

She has never had work except for piece jobs and now she survives with help from the church.

“If the church doesn’t give me anything I go to bed on an empty stomach,” she said.

She has no children and she has no other relatives left.

The outside toilet Annacleta Zungu uses during the day. Picture by Ntombo Mbomvu.

Zungu said she did not know who to contact to apply for a disability grant. “I sit at home everyday because there is nothing I can do. I am clueless about who are the relevant people to consult with regard to the grant.”

However, with help from an NGO called Siyabathanda she now hopes to get a grant.

Bawinile Shezi of Siyabathanda said she met Zungu last year. She had helped Zungu fill in forms and visit a doctor who deals with grants.

“We have been booked a date next month where she will go and do her fingerprints, which is part of the grant application. I am hoping that they help her so that she moves away from that house,” said Shezi.

Zungu said the church gave her money which she could use to pay someone to collect her pills from the local clinic.

She said she had spoken to ward councillor Sibusiso Mkhize but he had not been able to help.

Mkhize said he was working with Shezi to try to help Zungu. A site for a house for her had been found elsewhere in Willowfontein and he would approach local businesses to find funds to build “a proper house with a toilet”.

TOPICS:  Housing Sanitation

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