DSC00197Prince’s mother, Anna, has allegedly spent the last 10 years unsuccessfully trying to register Prince for a disability grant with the Limpopo Department of Social Development.

“Every time I want to register my son with the department I was always sent from one office to another,” said Anna, who lives with Ha-Mashau, near the city of Makhado in Limpopo. “It’s been happening for years now.”

After OurHealth profiled the family’s struggle to access social grants, Democratic Alliance local representative Jonas Mugovhani accompanied Anna and Prince to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) offices in nearby Bungeni.Moved by the family’s struggles, Mugovhani helped register Prince, who recently received the first installment of his disability grant.

Forced to leave her job as a domestic worker to provide full-time care for her son, Anna says she is ecstatic that her son has finally secured a grant.

“I’ll also be able to take Prince for checkups at the Elim Hospital regularly as I no longer will have to worry about the travel costs”

“At last my son has finally received his money,” she tells OurHealth. “It is a dream come true as this money will go a long way in helping me support him.”

“I will now look for another job as I will be able to use the grant money to hire someone to help look after Prince when I am at work,” she adds.

“I will be able to sleep peacefully knowing that I have money to help me look after my son,” she says. “I’ll also be able to take Prince for checkups at the Elim Hospital regularly as I no longer will have to worry about the travel costs.”

In many rural areas, transport for people living with disabilities is often difficult to access and more expensive as taxis charge extra for wheelchairs. Families with members who like Prince are unable to travel unaccompanied also face double the transport costs associated with clinic visits.

Hidden costs like these associated with disabilities are reason that people living with disabilities and their families remain among the poorest of the poor in South Africa, according to a recent statement by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

According to the 2011 census, almost 2.8 million South Africans are living with a disability.

As of 2011, about a quarter of South Africans with severe disabilities had no formal education. About 13 percent of households headed by disabled people did not have access to piped water, according to the census. This figure was about five percentage points higher than that found among general households.

A staggering 80 percent of people living with disabilities globally live in poverty, according to the National Department of Social Development.- Health-e News.

An edited version of this story also appeared on Health24.com