Leadership battle at old age home

2018-06-22 06:01

THE Elonwabeni Old Age Home has been functioning with two factions of people both claiming to be the rightful board members of the home since last month.

The Feverwas informed that a meeting was held at the home on May 24 and nine people were elected to serve as new board members following allegations of mismanagement of funds.

Speaking to the Fever, Siyabulela Memela, who claimed that he was elected as the new deputy chairperson at the meeting, said the home requires a new dawn which will return it to its former glory.

He confirmed the newly elected board members saying Kokstad people, including staff members, wanted a new board to rescue the home from troubles.

“We noticed that South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) cards that belong to elderly people were being kept by board members and it is not right to do so.

“Government was funding the home for the elderly, who were paying over R1 000 in fees, but the money was being used by individuals to serve their own purposes and not the needs of the home,” said Memela.

On January 26, the Fever reported on the terrible situation of the home after concerned people wrote letters to the Department of Social Development asking for an intervention. Some of the problems that were highlighted at the time included financial irregularities, funeral policies of some residents that were not paid by the institution, residents not being given medication, and misuse of vehicles, allegedly by individuals within the institution. There were also complaints that the elderly were bathing in cold water.

A delegation from the office of the Department of Social Development visited the home on January 26, and held several meetings between residents, relatives, staff and Kokstad stakeholders.

“There is no accountability; everyone does as they please at the institution.

“We want transparency and accountability,” said Memela.

However, Mzwandile Dlamini, who claimed to be the lawful board chairperson, said the meeting was held illegitimately by a small group of people who did not follow the correct procedure.

He said the meeting was supposed to be attended by the entire community of Kokstad in order to elect new board members.

He disputed claims about the newly elected board.

“There are no new board members at the institution. The people who attended the meeting were coming from only one ward, not from 10 wards as it is supposed to be. The board that was elected in the previous year is still legitimate.” he said.

“The department has been working with the institution and will continue doing so,” said KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development spokesperson Vukani Mbhele.

Mbhele added that a plan to address issues at the institution was being developed and implementations were being monitored.

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