Premier intervenes at troubled old age home

2018-09-21 06:00
KZN Premier Willies Mchunu (right) speaking to elderly residents at Elonwabeni Old Age Home last Friday. PHOTO: siphelele Nketo

KZN Premier Willies Mchunu (right) speaking to elderly residents at Elonwabeni Old Age Home last Friday. PHOTO: siphelele Nketo

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ELDERLY residents at the Elonwabeni Old Age Home in Kokstad were emotional when KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu visited the troubled institution as part of his intervention last Friday.

An elderly resident requested Mchunu make their social grants available, saying they hadn’t received grant payments last month.

Another elderly resident was removed from the meeting after weeping in front of Mchunu, as she felt the pain of suffering.

They wanted Mchunu’s intervention to bring the institution into former glory following numerous allegations of abuse of money and maladministration were reported since January.

On August 27, Mchunu visited the home and he promised to return with resolutions from the cabinet about the future of the home.

“At my last visit, I was informed that there was no electricity or food, and staff members were not paid. Today, I want to inform you that everything will be sorted out,” said Mchunu when he spoke to elderly residents and staff at the institution.

Mchunu said the home has good facilities and elderly residents will no longer be taken to other facilities as suggested previously.

He said the Department of Social Development (DSD) was instructed by cabinet to bring food and electricity to the home and to make sure that the elderly people were given a decent life.

When problems at the home surfaced, it was under control of three board members who resigned in July and when KwaZulu-Natal DA chief whip Francois Rodgers visited the home last month, he called for the South African Human Rights Commission to investigate after he discovered that there was no food and electricity and dirty linen had piled up due to washing machines not working.

Mchunu made a commitment that investigations would be conducted to ensure those responsible for the neglect were arrested.

Mchunu said he will be working with MEC of Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and MEC of Human Settlements Ravi Pillay to make the lives of elderly residents much better.

“The MEC of Health promised that doctors will be visiting the institutions to check on the welfare of elderly residents instead of them having to go to hospital,” he said, adding that an administrator will be appointed for the institution to function well.

He asked staff and care-givers to continue working, and added that their payments will be made available.

A care-giver who has worked at the institution for 22 years thanked Mchunu for visiting the home.

“We thanked the staff for not burning government properties even though they were unpaid,” said Greater Kokstad Municipality mayor Bheki Mtolo.

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