Taking Parliament to the People Brings Wheels for Young Khalemo

When MsPulengMofolo entered the Kaiser Sebothelo Stadium Hall in Botshabelo in August last year carrying her 13-year-old daughter, Khalemo, on her back, she had no idea that their lives were about to change.

She was among thousands of people in the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Free State, who had come to meet face-to-face with Members of Parliament (MPs) to tell them about their service delivery issues � as part of the National Council of Provinces’ (NCOP’s) Taking Parliament to the People programme.

MsMofolo had over the past 10 years watched helplessly as her once bubbly daughter’s health condition changed due to an illness that, till today, she does not understand. Doctors say her daughter has cerebral palsy but to her, it is a disease that has rendered her daughter immobile and wheelchair-bound.

When we first went to the doctor I was told that one of her legs was dislocated and that she would need to be operated to fix that. I was told that after the operation her one leg will be shorter than the other, said MsMofolo this week, adding that she was assured that after the operation Khalemo will be able to walk.

Last year when she heard that MPs will be in Botshabelo and there is a possibility that she could get a new wheelchair for her daughter, MsMofolo said she borrowed money to hire a car to take Khalemo to the stadium so she could seek help.

I went there to get help because I was struggling. I had to borrow money, R50, to hire a bakkie to take her there. However, the wheelchairs that were there were not suitable for Khalemo’s condition, she said.

Khalemo can no longer sit up straight due to her illness and a normal wheelchair would hurt her even more. Mofolo then carried Khalemo to the public submissions table and pleaded for help.

NCOP Chairperson, MsThandiModise, was chairing the public hearings and she undertook to assist MsMofolo to secure a specialised wheelchair for Khalemo. A private company called Ikageng Electrical Contractors came on board and offered to acquire a specialised wheelchair for Khalemo.

We are deeply thankful to Ikageng Electrical Contractors for heeding our call of keeping the legacy of Ntate Nelson Mandela alive, by contributing to great love and humanity through improving the lives of the people living with disabilities. We have no doubt that the specialised wheelchair will help Khalemo to live a fulfilling and productive life, said MsMasefakoDikgale, the NCOP’s House Chairperson for International Relations and Members’ Interests, during the official wheelchair handover ceremony held in Botshabelo this week.

MsDikgale represented the NCOP and MsModise specifically, as she would have loved to be there to witness the handover but due to other commitments she could not postpone, she had to miss the occasion.

MsDikgale said the event symbolises the NCOP’s efforts in mainstreaming disability imperatives into the programme of Taking Parliament to the People. The project of reaffirming our humanity and that of the people living with disabilities is in our hands. Collectively, we are its masters and captains, she said.

MsMofolo said she was very happy that she finally received the new specialised wheelchair that is specifically designed for Khalemo. I am very happy, I will now be able to take her to the clinic and everywhere she needs to go. She has not even been to the nearby mall because we could not push her around in her old wheelchair, which was donated by a white lady my granny used to work for many years ago. Khalemo did not fit in it anymore, said a happy MsMofolo.

The Taking Parliament to the People programme was initiated in 2002 to promote education about Parliament and to enhance public participation, to provide the public with an opportunity to have a say on matters affecting them.

Through this programme thousands of ordinary South Africans, mostly from marginalised communities, get the opportunity to interact with Members of Parliament on issues of service delivery and governance.

The NCOP will be returning to the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality from 28 to 31 August to report back on the progress made in relation to the commitments undertaken during the visit last year.

The main intention of the follow-up visit is to ensure and determine progress made by the provincial departments in addressing challenges identified by the community during the initial visit a year ago.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

[related_post themes="text" id="23200"]