Wits Junction community collects thousands of rand for cleaner whose shack burnt

The student community at the Wits Junction Residence has collected over R5 000 for a cleaner whose home in Germiston burnt after a fire broke out nearby.

Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, Nomsa Sodlaldla (53) said the fire started in the early hours of Saturday morning.

“A child from a neighbouring shack left a candle on at her home because our shacks are closely put the fire spread onto the other homes. I was away for the weekend when this happened and came back to find my shack was burnt down beyond recognition and there was nothing left of it,” she said.

Wits Junction House Committee chairperson, Mookameli Moeketsi (MK) told Wits Vuvuzela that he learnt of the incident from one of the residents who lived in the block cleaned by Sodladla.

“We tried approaching the Junction management but you can imagine that we were unsuccessful due to the nature of our relationship with them and theirs with the workers. So we wrote a post on social media and followed with an email appealing to the residents who came to donate in numbers,” he said.

Moeketsi said, “We have managed to collect over R5400 in cash donations as well as over 100 tinned items which we went to deliver to Mam’ Nomsa in Germiston a day after we learnt of the incident.”

Head of Residence Life, Robert Sharman described the initiative taken by the members of the Junction community as “highly commendable”. He said, “Their success to date is amazing. Unfortunately I do not have any particulars of the matter, as the cleaning staff of the university falls under the Services Department, not Campus Housing & Residence Life. I also do not know what discussions there may have been between the Services Department and the staff member.”

The university Vice Chancellor Adam Habib as well as the transformation office have made a commitment to assist Sodladla. “Yesterday the Vice chancellor called us and asked how far we were with the donations and suggested that we get the greater wits community involved. The transformation office also called to query how far we are and where we needed help,” Moeketsi said.

Sodlala says the workers’ union as well as the Junction workers have not yet contacted her or made any indication to assist as yet. “I was overwhelmed by the contributions from the students. I was not expecting it and broke into tears. I am very grateful for all the donations.”

Sodladla, originally from Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape where her two children stay, is currently living in her cousin’s shack and hopes to restore her home soon.

“I have gone back to work after a three day leave. I still need zinc to build my shack. In the meantime I am staying with my cousin.”

Sodlala and the Junction residents have appealed to the public to assist in donating blankets, clothes and food items as well as material to rebuild her shack.

For any immediate donations please contact Nomsa Sodladla on (078 376 4327/079 924 6848) or the Junction residents on 076 965 4413 or email: mookamelim@gmail.com


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