Hundreds of senior citizens and child-headed families from the Empangeni area on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast have been showered with Christmas gifts courtesy of the Umhlathuze municipality.
The recipients came from near and far to receive their gifts of groceries. They were also treated to a tasty meal, Christmas delicacies, topped off with a special dessert.
Christmas came three days early for the elderly and the orphans around eMpangeni area. They have been drawn from all of uMhlathuze’s 33 wards, including the rural areas.
The Empangeni civic hall was decked out with decorations and a Christmas tree in their honour. The elderly – mostly from poor families – came dressed in their best outfits. Geli Nzuza says you have to dress up for such a function.
“One has to look good because we knew we would have to pose for cameras. Though we are sickly we knew that coming here would help us. We are not only eating healthy food but we will also take some home”.
Child-headed families also shared in the joy an early Christmas. Philisiwe Zikhali and Phakamani Mchunu say this is probably their best Christmas ever, and they wish it doesn’t stop after Christmas.
“My children did not have anything for Christmas. I didn’t know what to give them. I would like to thank government for assisting us with the groceries. We will now have Christmas just like other families,” says Zikhali.
“First of all I would like to thank the municipality. We wish that this generosity continues even after Christmas but what I need most is the job opportunity so that I will be able to support my family,” adds Mchunu
The City of uMhlathuze deputy Mayor – Slondile Mkhize – says some of the families that were identified as indigents for the Christmas programme, will be assisted throughout the year.
“We only identify indigents so that we give them food during Christmas time and we are willing to continue every year. We are even inviting our business men to come and join us in this programme because we want to give our people food.”
The City of uMhlathuze also opened the upgraded eMpangeni Taxi Rank. It has received a facelift to the tune of R5million.