Blind man gets water tank and new house

Ernest Mdunge will no longer have to walk three kilometres to fetch water

Photo of three people
From the left: Msunduzi Municipality Mayor Themba Njilo, Ernerst Mdunge and ward councillor Thandiwe Madondo. Photo supplied

In November, GroundUp told the story of a 49-year-old blind man who lives in a dilapidated hut with his disabled sister and has to walk three kilometres to fetch water.

Within a space of two weeks, Ernest Mdunge of Khokhwane in Pietermaritzburg, received a water tank and a house was built for him with two bedrooms, a kitchen, lounge and bathroom by the Vulindlela Development Association (VDA).

Mdunge said he is over the moon. He said he is grateful that he will be celebrating Christmas with a water tank in his yard.

Photo of a man infront of a dilapidated hut
Ernest Mdunge outside the home he used to live in a month ago. Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane

Ward 39 councillor Thandiwe Madondo said they would monitor the water tank so that it did not run dry.

“I want to thank GroundUp for reporting on the matter,” said Mdunge. “After the story was published I had a visit from the mayor [Themba Njilo] … I’m happy to see if there are still people out there who cares about the wellbeing of others. Usually, people living in rural areas are neglected.”

The Mayor, local leadership and the ward councillor were present during the handover. Community members were also present to see Mdunge officially open his house.

Njilo said, “As soon as I heard and read about it, I ordered that the matter was treated as an emergency. No one deserved what that family was experiencing … . We still need to work harder in making sure that people in that ward and its surroundings never feel left out.”

Operations manager for VDA, Mpendulo Kunene, “We are grateful for the effort that the media has put in. Needy people are always the first priority on a project.”

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