Elonwabeni Old Age Home in dire status

2018-01-26 06:00

CONCERNED Kokstad residents have written a number of letters to the Department of Social Development to offer relief to the Elonwabeni Old Age Home, which is facing a number of challenges.

The institution is home to 67 elderly Kokstad and surrounding area people.

It is alleged that there are financial irregularities, funeral policies of some of the residents have not been paid by the institution, residents are not given medication and vehicles are misused by board members and management.

It is also alleged the elderly bath in cold water or sometimes do not bath at all because the institution doesn’t buy electricity.

A source who is aware about what’s going on said the concerned community has tried to interfere by calling meetings to seek resolutions, but nothing has been resolved.

The source said problems of the old age home were highlighted at a meeting that was attended by the local Department of Social Development staff, ward councillor and some board members from the old age home on November 17, 2017.

“Some board members of the old age home buy expensive clothes and it is suspected they are using the money sponsored by government for the home.

One manager uses the old age home vehicle for his personal use and goes to taverns and just drives around in it,” the source said.

On December 11, 2017 another meeting was called by the Greater Kokstad Municipality speaker, Zolani Mhlongo after the family of one resident learnt that the funeral policy of their relative was in arrears.

The source called for the department to intervene and appoint new board members and a manager to rescue the institution.

Fever spoke to some employees, who want to remain unnamed for fear of being targeted, and who pointed fingers at management and some board members for misusing money and vehicles.

“In November, three board members visited the old age home under the influence of alcohol and demanded the vehicle keys from employees, but they refused to give them.

“Workers are also threatened with dismissal for forwarding complaints to management,” said a worried employee.

Another employee said the home residents are given unhealthy food and at last year’s Christmas Day meal they were given pap and meat, not biscuits and cake as usual. The employee further said residents sleep in old beds with only a few blankets, which causes them to get sick in winter.

“Sometimes we use money from our own pocket to buy shoes and donate old clothes to them because the institution doesn’t buy them clothes.

Last week we saw some residents with runny stomachs because of unhealthy food they got from the home,” said another employee.

The KZN Department of Social Development spokeswoman Ncumisa Ndelu said the provincial department is unaware of the challenges and has not received any complaints about the Kokstad old age home, but promised to do a follow-up with the local office.

Attempts to get comment from the Elonwabeni Old Age Home manager, Luvuyo Nongimba, were unsuccessful at the time of going to press.

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