Good Samaritan turned away after offering to fix run-down old age home

2016-06-01 14:44
A broken door at the Radio Cottage old age home (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

A broken door at the Radio Cottage old age home (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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WATCH: Dire conditions at Joburg old age home

2016-03-02 09:09

Residents at a Johannesburg old age home endure power cuts, toilets that don't flush and unsanitary living conditions. Watch.WATCH

Johannesburg - A Good Samaritan who offered to fix parts of a run-down old age home in Vrede Park, says he was turned away by a security guard who told him he needed permission from the City of Johannesburg.

Virgel Triegaardt had offered to visit the Radio Cottage home for the elderly and get quotations on all the work that needed to be done on behalf of Just Love, a charity organisation.

After reading about the dire living conditions at the home in a News24 article in March, Just Love offered to help with renovating the home.

- Read more: Joburg's elderly forced to live in dire conditions

One of the residents Triegaardt had spoken to complained about a roof that had been leaking for the past year.

"When I arrived at the old age home, the security refused to let me in and insisted that I should speak to Monica Molepsani [area manager of the housing department in Vrededorp]," Triegaardt said.

After being turned away from the gate last week, Triegaardt met with Molepsani shortly afterwards to discuss the matter.

“Monica said the property is contracted by City Parks who services all old age homes,” he said.

Calls to City Parks by News24 went unanswered.


On Tuesday, Molepsani told News24 that she had met with Triegaardt, but referred him to the department of housing.

"He can’t just go to the old age home and get quotes. He must get permission from the department first," Molepsani said.

Three months ago, the City of Johannesburg's housing department said they would undertake to do maintenance work at the home.

The department said they had endeavoured to shorten the turnaround time for the fixing of water leaks, burst geysers and faulty globes, but sometimes procurement dictated that, instead of fixing one thing at a time, they took a holistic approach when handling these issues in the area.

At the time, the department told News24 it would begin repairs within three months.

June 3 would mark exactly three months since that promise was made.

(Iavan Pijoos, News24)

'I don't feel safe at all now'

During the second visit, News24 discovered that 63-year-old Lynette Beck went out to visit her daughter, but upon her return, her blankets and curtains were stolen from her flat.

"You are supposed to be safe here at the old age home, but I don't feel safe at all now," the frail-looking Beck told News24, pointing to the door she had to fix herself after its handle was damaged during the break-in at the home in Jan Hofmeyer, Johannesburg, just a few metres from a bottle store and a tavern.

Beck was one of many residents grateful for the help from the organisation, after many requests to the City of Joburg went unanswered.

Gauteng housing department spokesperson Bubu Xuba said at the time they were trying different ways to ensure that tenants' needs came first, but as a public institution there were certain financial procedures that they could not override.

(Iavan Pijoos, News24)

(Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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