Dept barred from illegal home

2013-05-23 00:00

THE Department of Social Development failed in a bid yesterday to remove residents from an illegal home for the elderly in Imbali when the owner locked the gate.

Access to Siyaphilisa Community-based Care in unit one, Sutherland Road, was refused by owner Tu Zondi, the former deputy mayor of Umgungundlovu District Municipality .

Four cars from Social Development, including a minibus taxi, were parked outside the centre as Zondi remained inside the locked gates of the home.

Social workers left after realising they would not get access to the home.

Zondi told The Witness that the department had visited her centre previously. “Social workers arrived at the beginning of the year with the MEC, Weziwe Thusi, saying that they wanted to close the centre because it doesn’t meet their standards. I refused because everything we do is legal. Families bring their family members here for help,” said Zondi.

The centre has 25 patients with different illnesses who are taken care of by 10 volunteers.

“We take care of them as their families cannot. Some families don’t even come and visit them in the centre and we always ask social workers to help us to track down the families.”

Zondi said she would not allow the department to take her patients without the permission of their families.

This centre has been operating since 2000.

Social Development spokesperson Vukani Mbhele said the department was intervening because the centre was registered as a non-profit organisation and not as an old-age home.

“That makes it illegal for people to stay in this home. We will have to move them to other homes. We encourage the public to check with the department on which centres are registered before they send their family members there.”

Mbhele added that there would be a meeting to find a way forward.

Zondi said yesterday she was waiting for an undertaker to remove the body of a patient who had died at the centre.

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