Excitement and tears of joy as MEC Dhlomo and team build houses for struggle veteran, elderly women on Mandela Day

18 July 2017

It was a sight to behold as Struggle veteran Amos Ndwalane – emotions etched all over his face - thanked KZN Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo for helping to secure a donor to build a proper home for the Lamontville resident. Ndwalane, 69, is currently living in an old house with a roof that leaks like a sieve when it rains.

He was due to be hanged after spending eight years in the Pretoria Central Prison for leading a mission that led to the death of the person who assassinated Lamontville-based activist and anti-poverty campaigner Msizi Dube, on 25 April 1983. Ndwalane’s saving grace was the unbanning of the ANC in 1990, which occurred just seven days before the date scheduled for his hanging.

Today, as South Africa celebrated the birthday of Nelson Mandela, Ndwalane was honoured by MEC Dhlomo and a donor with the symbolic sod-turning ceremony for a house that will be built for him, and ultimately give him the dignity that he so richly deserves.

With members of Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKVA) and the ANC Women’s League in tow, MEC Dhlomo delivered the building material at the Ndwalane family home in Lamontville and also introduced the builder. Once the new three-bedroom house has been completed, the Ndwalane family will move in, to allow for the current house to also receive a make-over. The revamp will include, among others, a new roof and a perimeter fence.

Amos Ndwalane, his wife Nozipho and KZN Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo at Ndwalane's residence in Lamontville
Amos Ndwalane, his wife Nozipho and KZN Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo at Ndwalane's residence in Lamontville

MEC Dhlomo, himself a political prisoner who also was sentenced to 10 years on Robben Island for his political activism, says he is always touched by the selfless sacrifices of people like Mr Ndwalane.

In October 2016, MEC Dhlomo organized a trip to the same gallows at Pretoria Central Prison where Ndwalane would have been hung. The travelling party included the father of freedom fighter Andrew Zondo, who was executed in 1986, nine months after detonating a bomb at Amanzimtoti.

During the visit to Pretoria Central Prison, Ndwalane reduced all and sundry to tears as he recounted the names of the comrades who were hung while he was there; the pain of being away from his family; the excruciating anxiety that came with the prospect of walking the 52-step stairway up to the gallows at Pretoria Central Prison; and his ultimate relief that came upon realizing that the unbanning of the ANC meant that he was not going to be hung – unlike so many other comrades.

As part of the day’s proceedings, MEC Dhlomo also handed over groceries at the impoverished Mbili household in Mbumbulu, where the patriarch was gunned down by unknown people four months ago.

MEC Dhlomo and his team then proceeded to the home of a 70 year-old woman at Mbumbulu , who has been a paraplegic since her primary school days. Here, the building blocks for the new home were was laid up to window level. When finished, the house will have two bedrooms and a bathroom. This will help bring much-needed dignity and convenience to her and her family.

KZN Health MEC helps out during the building of a house for a paraplegic woman at Mbumbulu as part of Mandela Day today
KZN Health MEC helps out during the building of a house for a paraplegic woman at Mbumbulu as part of Mandela Day today

Issued by the KZN Ministry of Health

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This page last edited on 18 July, 2017

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