My mattress was my bank: R10 500 burnt as ‘house’ catches fire


MATSHIDISO Mokone (50) ran into the burnt remains of her shack and checked under the charred mattress – and found that her life savings of R10 500 were also burnt.

All her money had been partly burnt, with some notes completely destroyed.

Matshidiso from Phomolong, Mamelodi East had worked piece jobs and sometimes went for a long time without an income. She was saving for when she was in-between piece jobs.

She managed to save the money over a few years, and would put some in when she worked and take some out as she needed. Her mattress was her bank.

And now she can’t get the charred notes exchanged at the Reserve Bank because of Covid-19.

Besides the money, clothes, food, her documents and daughter’s schoolbooks were also destroyed.

The mother of five said she still had not recovered from the fire that took place in December. They now depended on donations from good Samaritans.

“I’m no longer getting piece jobs and my partner of over 10 years has kicked me out. The money that was burnt would have helped me to start over.”

Matshidiso said she tried to get the money exchanged.

“They told me to go to the Reserve Bank. When I got there, I was told that I should wait for lockdown to be eased as the restrictions meant the bank couldn’t help me.”

She said the wait was destroying her.

“I keep looking at it when there is no food. Winter is here and my children will need clothes,” she said.

“I have money but I can’t use it to buy anything.”

She said she managed to make a single room from the remains of her shack.

“There’s four of us in the room. We cook and bathe here. There’s no room. It’s just shelter over our heads,” she added.

Matshidiso pleaded with SunReaders for help.

“I’m a hard worker who doesn’t like begging, but I’m desperate. Until I get the money back, I can’t provide for my family,” she said.

“We need food, clothes and another shack.”

— DailySun

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