Army battles poverty

Master Warrant Officer Aubrey Johan Erasmus, Heavens Shelter House founder Zulpha Morris, Chaplain Andrew Treu, Sergeant Xolani Ncobo, and Lieutenant Colonel Dibuwe Hendrick Tigele.

Members of the 9 South African Infantry Battalion (9 SAI BN), based at the military base in Khayelitsha, took action against poverty at Heaven’s Shelter House.

This was their bid to continue doing 67 minutes of good in honour of South Africa’s late president, Nelson Mandela, beyond his birthday month of July.

On Thursday August 1 they delivered food, clothes and shoes to the Woodlands shelter, which opened its doors in 1998.

Since then, they have been helping the homeless and been a place of safety for women and children, from Mitchell’s Plain, nationally and abroad.

Lieutenant Colonel Dibuwe Hendrick Tigele said they were there on behalf of the battalion’s General Officer Commanding, chief of the army and chief of the defence force to answer to that call – during this year’s Mandela Day theme to take action against poverty.

“We don’t have a lot to give to you. We are saying we are here to contribute to what you see here in front of you (that is boxes of cereal, sugar, flour, canned goods; bags of shoes and clothing), to say we are taking actions against poverty,” he said.

Founder of the shelter Zulpha Morris, who used to live in Beacon Valley where she housed the destitute in her bedroom, said what the battalion saw in front of them – a double storey building accommodating about 200 women and children – was the result of prayers being answered. She said their visit would help those less fortunate.