"while the issue begins to divide the Matatiele community"

Few members of the community in Matatiele  came together this afternoon  to rescue the visitors from spending another night outside. On Friday Maria Majolo and her six children, four boys and two girls were dumped by  an owner of the BnB which  accommodated them after they were moved out of the police station  on Tuesday. They spent the whole night outside the police station. There are reports that while sleeping outside the police station they were not allowed to use toilet or drink water in the station.

On Saturday members of the community led by ward Cllr Sheeren Booth came through for the family and saved the day. It is confirmed that they have shelter for Saturday night and food has also been organised for them. It is not known how long are they going to be accommodated where they are. The family in white who came with big luggage that include a deep freezer arrived at Matatiele Police Station a week ago.

Meanwhile the issue of this family who say they have identified Matatiele as a peaceful place with no crime and jealous people have divided the Matatiele community.  Some individuals are exchanging heated words over the phones and social media platforms. The exchange of heated words is between those who are championing the assistance of the family and those who are reluctant to help. Those community members who are campaigning for the family to be helped believe that  the family has a constitutional right to be kept in a safe place while others keep on asking questions like Who are they?, Where are they coming from and Why are they in Matatiele?

The Department of Social Development in the Eastern Cape tried to find answers of the above questions by having a one on one interview with each member of this family. The Department ‘s report about this family shows that they have also failed to get answers.  A Statement issued by the Departmental Spokesperson Mzukisi Solani said an assessment, interviews and Psychological Support was conducted to all the seven family members but it was difficult for the department to extract some other information. “It proved very difficult to categorise a relevant social ill in order for the department to intervene since it has been difficult to extract more information. The family members were not forth coming with some information and their stories are different. While the Majolo/ Letlotlo family have their constitutional right to live where they would feel safe as per their wishes, more investigation is required”, said Solani.

Some people believe that although Immigration Officers have confirmed that their documents are legitimate but due diligent has not been done to investigate the family. They say finger prints should have been taken and the documents should have been vetted.  It is not clear how Maria’ s story is going to end but what is clear now is that this issue is dividing the people of Matatiele.



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