By Thembela Ntongana
“If you are in a wheelchair and living in a shack, doing the simplest things, like brushing your teeth, requires work,” says 38-year-old Malibongwe Ntanjana.
He lives alone in a two-roomed shack in Gugulethu. He lost his ability to walk two years ago, when he was shot in a car hijacking. He was driving a taxi in Nyanga at the time.
A neighbour, who is jobless, fetches water for him to bathe. Ntanjana pays the neighbour what he can afford from what he earns working part-time at a nearby organisation that offers jobs to people living with disabilities.
He has been living on a “serviced plot” for over ten years. He has a title deed and is waiting for an RDP house to be built on the land. His shack has no electricity. There is a tap at the back, which he struggles to access. He has no toilet; he uses a bucket, which his neighbour empties regularly.
“I have been asking my ward councillor … He has never been here. He has been promising to at least give me a toilet I can use … for the last two years,” says Ntanjana. “When I bath I have to ask someone else [the neighbour] to come and throw away the water and empty the [toilet] bucket.”