Lesufi, Muhlarhi officially hand over renovated house to Katlehong pensioner
PRETORIA, April 11 (ANA) – Gauteng member of the executive council (MEC) for Education, Panyaza Lesufi on Sunday joined philanthropist Given Muhlarhi in officially handing over a renovated house to the Phalane family in Katlehong in Ekurhuleni.
The house was renovated by Muhlarhi, founder of Given the Giver Foundation. In March, Muhlarhi brought the family a food donation and committed to renovate their house which had become uninhabitable after a storm.
The family members, led by 79-year-old Gabriel Phalane and his wife of the same age Thandi, were featured in the Daily Sun newspaper weeks ago begging for assistance from South Africans for food and to rebuild their damaged home.
“As a nation, we must encourage our young people that as they grow up, material things will always be there but these heart-warming gestures are what we need in society,” Lesufi said.
For us to come here to open such a beautiful house for someone who is not capable or able to do it for themselves, it is a heart-warming story. That is why some of us have left whatever we were doing to come here and say to Given, thank you so much for doing this,” he said.
“People of his age, they throw parties overnight. They would have come here to boost the assets that they have, or to call other wrong people to come and celebrate wrong things. Here we are celebrating something that will be cherished forever. This is indeed heart-warming and I would like to thank you Given Muhlarhi.”
Lesufi said South Africans should not hesitate to reach out and assist fellow community members – despite the numerous accusations which may follow.
“Sometimes gestures like these always attract bad gossips, right? They will say, you know why they are doing these things? We think this man [Muhlarhi] won a tender at [department of] education. People do not want to accept things the way they are. I should declare that he [Muhlarhi] doesn’t do any business with my department,” said Lesufi.
Muhlarhi said he could not sleep well after hearing about the plight of the family, and when the pictures of the desperate family were published in the media.
“This story of this family was very painful when it got to me, and especially considering how bad the rains were in this past season. I pictured here in a place with a collapsed roof, when I was in my house. He is an old person on crutches, and I wondered how he was surviving in such a house,” said Muhlarhi.
“In marking my 40th birthday, I made sure that instead of calling my friends to go and pop champagne at Sandton, how about doing this and make myself happy? This would make me sleep better knowing that he walks around on his crutches in his house.I thank God for giving me the strength and all the friends who heeded my call to come and help this family.”
In the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19, Given the Giver Foundation had handed over 5000 food parcels as many people have lost their jobs while poverty has increased. The foundation hoped to raise funds for the construction of a university in Ekurhuleni.
Phalane said he still could not believe that his prayers were answered.
“Today will be a day that I will not forget. This house will be a legacy I leave for my children and grandchildren. I was crying for help, and Mr Muhlarhi was sent by God to wipe away my tears,” said Phalane.
“My neighbours keep asking me how I managed to do all these renovations including adding a high security fence. I am eternally grateful.”
– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Devereaux Morkel