South Africa — Ntuli-Zuma, known as MaNtuli, is founder of the MaNtuli-Zuma Foundation. She was in Weza village, in Willowvale, yesterday to assess the damage caused by fire and to determine what help could be offered.
Sixteen homes were destroyed during the September 14 fire and livestock was burned to death.
“We are here with business people to see for ourselves the damage the fire caused and what intervention we can do. We are here to fulfil wishes of President Jacob Zuma that we must help those who cannot help themselves,” MaNtuli said.
Victims were yesterday given food parcels and home appliances while further support is being decided on.
During yesterday’s visit, MaNtuli committed herself to building a house for one of the victims, 63-year-old pensioner Ntombelanga Hani.
“There is no way I was going to be able to rebuild it,” an elated Hani said.
The pensioner said she and other villagers tried to extinguish the flames but their attempts were in vain.
Roofing on Hani’s rondavel had just been completed when it caught fire.
“We tried to extinguish it but the flames overwhelmed me,” said Hani.
The pensioner now lives in a two-roomed mud structure with her daughter and a grandson.
On why the family were being helped first, MaNtuli said: “I have singled out this family because of their condition; their situation needs urgent attention.”
MaNtuli said she was made aware of the village’s plight when she was approached by Nedbank.
Lwandy Ngebe, of Nedbank, said she and other bank employees were in the village on the day the fire destroyed homes.
“We took it upon ourselves to raise funds for the fire victims,” she said.
Ngebe said other businesses had been lobbied and the response had been good.
“Some donated food and others brought clothes and blankets.”
She said she had been asking for donations when she was told of the MaNtuli-Zuma Foundation.
“We approached them and they showed an interest. We are happy that they are here today,” she said.
King Mpendulo Sigcawu of the AmaXhosa welcomed the initiative, saying that people should be given the resources to deal with fires.
“Each town must have its own firefighters and there must be enough resources,” he said.