Call for probe into old age home

2018-10-19 06:00

A SOURCE who is concerned about the operations of a local old age home in Kokstad has informed the Fever about the deaths of 11 elderly residents within the space of eight months.

The source also showed the Fever a document with a list of residents who died on the premises and others who died in hospital.

“I started my investigation last month when I wanted to deliver food to the residents at the home. I was told that the number of residents was not the same as the number I was given earlier this year.

“I was told that 11 residents had died since January,” said the source.

According to the document, which contains the list of the deceased, six residents died on the premises of the institution and the remaining five died in the local hospital.

In January there were two deaths, one in February, one in March and one in May, two in June, one in July, two in August and one in September.

The KwaZulu-Natal Democratic Alliance (DA) confirmed a written letter to KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi, calling for her intervention.

“To make matters worse, the deceased’s funeral policies have also lapsed, allegedly as a result of financial mismanagement by the home’s former board members.

“The result is that the families of those who have died do not have the funds to provide a decent burial for their loved ones,” said Sharon Hoosen, the DA KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson for the Department of Social Development.

Hoosen said: “This shocking information was passed on to the DA via an impeccable source within the community. Last week, I shared the information with the MEC, during a telephone conversation, who had no idea of the numbers of deaths.”

Last month, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu was at the home with the Department of Human Settlements MEC Ravi Pillay to intervene after numerous allegations of abuse of money and maladministration were reported since January.

At the time, Mchunu promised elderly residents and staff that his intervention would yield positive results.

“It has been three months since the DA inspected the home and discovered that 67 elderly residents were living in a poor condition.

“In terms of food, residents were completely reliant on local farmers and businesses for food donations,” said Hoosen.

She said staff members from the home have not yet been paid, there is no electricity and issues around financial mismanagement and irregularities have still not been cleared up.

“DA has written to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on the issue and we are waiting for confirmation of investigation.

“The DA will not allow this matter to rest until the human rights of these elderly residents are no longer being violated,” she said.

Department of Social Development KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Ncumisa Ndelu confirmed she received a written submission from the DA but denied that there were 11 elderly residents who died at the home.

The home has refused to give clarity about the number of deaths that have occurred.

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