Housing dept to fix run-down Joburg retirement home

2016-03-03 16:27

Johannesburg - The housing department has undertaken to do maintenance work at the Radio Cottage home for the elderly that was recently visited by News24.

Gauteng housing spokesperson Bubu Xuba said repairs and maintenance would be done at the retirement home in Vrede Park in Johannesburg.

"We note the work that needs to be done and we have started the procurement process to fix these problems," Xuba said.

This came after News24 reported the case of a group of about 48 pensioners living in a troubled neighbourhood, a few kilometres from a bottle store and a tavern in Vrede Park, Johannesburg.

Many of the elderly residents could not use the toilet at night because the light bulb had not been replaced, leaving the passage pitch black.

Due to the height of the ceiling, none of the tenants could replace the bulbs themselves.

Xuba advised the tenants to report issues like these directly to the area managers responsible and to escalate problems within in the department if they did not receive the desired attention.

One of the tenants, Perina Bernado, had to endure power cuts, toilets that did not flush, and had had to drag a stove into her lounge to reach a working plug.

Her neighbour, Gerald Springfield, has been living at Radio Cottage for the past five years and has been struggling with a blocked drain and leaking ceiling for for much of that time .

Xuba said turnaround times depended on the work that needed to be done, and the cost, and that problems costing more than R30 000 required a longer procurement process.

"As a department, we endeavor to shorten the turnaround time for the fixing of issues such as water leaks, burst geysers, faulty globes etc, but sometimes procurement dictates that instead of fixing one thing at a time, we take a holistic approach when handling these issues in the area," she said.

"Instead of fixing one geyser in one old age home, we club all faulty geysers in the region which will be cost effective but may take longer," Xuba said.

Another tenant, Lynette Beck, said she used a bucket instead of the shared toilets, due to the lack of hygiene and the dark passage. 

"I don't go out because there is no light. I've got a big basin that I bath in... I don't use that bath at all." 

Xuba said they were trying different ways to ensure that tenants' needs came first, but as a public institution there were certain financial procedures that they could not override.  

The department would start repairs at the home within the next three months.

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