Homes close down for violating human rights

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pretoria - Gauteng Health and Social Development has shut down two homes catering for vulnerable persons after failing to comply with minimum standards for residential facilities of this nature.

Gauteng Health and Social Development MEC, Ntombi Mekgwe, said the decision to close Mamohau Orphanage in Mapleton, Ekurhuleni, and DB Old Age home in the Dickenson industrial area in Sedibeng, followed several attempts by social workers to assist the facilities to comply with minimum standards.

"All attempts were ignored by the owners of the homes. The living conditions in the facilities are harmful to the physical and psychological wellbeing of residents and their rights are being grossly violated and compromised.

"It is the responsibility of government to ensure that the older persons are placed in a suitable facility where they will be nurtured and cared for with dignity and respect for their human rights," said Mekgwe.

Among the reasons for closing down Mamohau are that the facility is isolated, not fenced and the safety of the residents is at risk as access is not controlled. Children and adults with disabilities, who are mentally challenged, are accommodated in the same house which poses a risk to their safety.

The owner has also failed to cooperate with the department to improve the facility to meet minimum standards and ignored advice not to operate a residential facility.

DB old age home operates from an old panel beating shop with no improvements made to the building to make it conducive and safe for older persons.

According to the department, the home offers poor quality and inappropriate care to older persons. It has no stimulation and recreational programmes, health and medical care is non-existent and is rendered by unqualified personnel.

"Administrative records of the older persons or the staff are not kept. The building is not suitable for human habitation, unhygienic conditions, dirty with a constant stench which poses a safety risk and the building is poorly maintained."

Residents of the homes will be moved to other suitable facilities before the end of August. Mekgwe has instructed officials to consult with residents about the decision to close the home and the new places that they will be moved to.

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