Old age home faces possible closure

2018-07-13 06:00

“A DECISION to withdraw the Elonwabeni Old Age Home licence to practice was taken and consultations with families of elderly people will take place,” said a source who attended a meeting alongside Kokstad stakeholders and Department of Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi on Monday.

The meeting was held at the Greater Kokstad council chambers and the media was not allowed access.

The source, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the decision was made after lengthy deliberations between the MEC and stakeholders to resolve problems facing the home.

“The MEC was told that elderly people sleep in the dark sometimes because the home fails to buy electricity.

“The MEC said the home will be closed because it has failed in its mandate of caring for elderly people,” the source said.

Elderly people who have been residing at the Elonwabeni Old Age Home described their living conditions as “miserable” or “torturous” in a Feverarticle that was published on June 22.

They complained about paying a R 1 000 monthly fee while the home allegedly could not afford to even buy electricity.

Last Sunday, community members from Kokstad converged at the home in Bhongweni with the aim of electing new board members to assist in running the home efficiently, however the meeting was cancelled.

The Fever reporter saw the worsening situation of the home after concerned people wrote letters to the Department of Social Development for intervention on January 26.

Some problems that were highlighted at the time included financial mismanagement, funeral policies of some residences that were not paid, elderly people not being given their medication, and the misuse of vehicles. There were also complaints that elderly people were bathing in cold water.

Councillor Lwando Madikizela from the Bhongweni area, who was at a meeting, confirmed the decision to close the home. He said the incident was unfortunate as the home was the only one in existence in the Kokstad area as well as the Harry Gwala District as a whole.

“There is nothing we can do to prevent the home from being closed down, but I am worried about the people who have been working at the home that may perhaps lose their source of income,” said Madikizela.

“The only resolution that was taken at the meeting was to remove residents to other facilities because the challenges at the centre were affecting their well-being,” Department of Social Development spokesperson Ncumisa Ndelu said in response to a media inquiry.

Without giving further reasons about the decision taken at a meeting, she said the MEC remains committed to the processes of engagements in resolving challenges facing the institution.

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