The kind gesture of a Hartbeespoort businessman this week helped a homeless woman to keep a roof over her head in the only ‘home’ she knows…her car.
Cathy Janse van Rensburg (61) has been living in her car since August last year after her accommodation in Kameeldrift burnt down. Cathy suffered two strokes a few years ago that left her disabled. She lost her job and home as a result. She was given accommodation in Kameeldrift and after it burnt down, she was left homeless. She lost all her belongings, except her car. Cathy has no family.
“With only my R1 800 SASSA grant I could not find accommodation. All I had was my little car and nowhere to go.” She travelled around in the area when she could put fuel in the vehicle and slept where she was able to park at night. “I finally ended up at a fuel station in Brits where they kindly let me sleep in my car at night where I am not so vulnerable. And the kind people bring me coffee in the morning, let me do my washing behind the fuel station. And sometimes there are meals from the take-away restaurant. And late at night, she washes in the disabled bathroom. I try not to be a bother to anyone, and I ask for nothing. I am so utterly grateful for what I have. I have tried to find a job but have not been successful.”
But then on Monday morning, her little car’s battery finally gave in. “I did not know what to do. The fuel attendants pushed-started the car and I started driving around to battery outlets to see if I could maybe find something second hand I can afford. I prayed to God to please show me the way.” After exhausting outlets in Brits, Cathy finally got to a battery and tyre outlet in Hartbeespoort. By then she was in tears.
“The owner asked me what was the matter and I broke down and told him. He said I should wait as they will attend to me soon. The next moment a man came to my car, opened the bonnet, and replaced my battery. I was in a state. I knew I could not afford a new battery and thought it was a mistake. But then the owner came to me, put something in my hand and told me to go and spoil myself,” an overwhelmed Cathy told Kormorant shortly after.
“He had given me R100! I drove straight to Kormorant. I read the paper every week and we need good stories. And this is a good story about a kind man who helped a woman in need. People need to know that good things still happen and that there are good people among us. I still have my home that gives me shelter and keeps me safe. Thank you so much Sir. Thank you for saving my home. And I want to let you know I did as you asked and used some of the money to spoil myself. I bought myself a burger!”
(The owner of the business did not want to be named.)